U.S. military presence in Jordan quietly grows
A Patriot missile launcher system is pictured at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep on February 5, 2013.
June 19th, 2013
01:51 PM ET

U.S. military presence in Jordan quietly grows

By Barbara Starr

Even as U.S. military officials privately maintain there are no immediate plans for action against the Syrian regime, the American presence next door in Jordan is quietly growing as is an increased U.S. military capability to defend that nation.

U.S. military assets either in place or due to arrive include:

Patriots, F-16s

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's approval to keep a Patriot missile battery and a detachment of F-16s there indefinitely adds about 400 troops to the U.S. presence.

While the units officially support U.S.-Jordanian military cooperation, they provide a real capability in a crisis.

The Patriot battery would be used to defend Jordan against any missiles launched from Syria. The F-16s "send a message" to Syria, says one senior U.S. military official, that the United States will defend Jordan, if needed.

Military planners

Another 200 or so troops specializing in military planning from the 1st Armored Division's headquarters will arrive later this summer.

They are to replace existing planners with a more focused ability to help Jordan's commanders prepare for any number of Syrian contingencies, including a chemical weapons crisis or a worsening refugee situation.

Navy ships

The Navy also continues its longstanding deployment of three anti-ballistic missile ships is the eastern Mediterranean. The ships, with a total crew of about 1,000, carry Tomahawk cruise missiles to defend Israel from any attack by Iran.
Several Navy officials say they could also readily defend Jordan or Israel against any Scud missile launch from Syria.

Marine trainers

The Marines are continuing a longstanding presence of about 130 personnel to train Jordanian units that are slated to go to Afghanistan. But that counter-terrorism training could be used in any crisis, officials acknowledge.

Army Airborne exercise

All of the efforts were put into place before President Barack Obama said last week the United States had concluded the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against its people.

Senior U.S. officials have said there is continuing concern that eventually some type of military units will be needed to go into Syria to take control of the weapons. For more than a year, the United States has quietly trained Jordanian forces for that mission.

But the Army's 82nd Airborne Division is also training for that scenario.

In a series of exercises at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, planned for next week, a brigade will train on how to be ready to deploy from the United States in 18 hours for a chemical weapons crisis.

Although long planned, the exercise is aimed at what commanders see as a real world scenario, a division official says.

'No-fly' zone

At last Wednesday's White House meeting of senior national security officials, the question of whether to consider imposing a "no-fly" zone over Syria was again discussed, according to a military official who did not attend the meeting but was briefed about it.

He said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, continued to raise concerns about the need to be certain about clear objectives and complete understanding of the risks to pilots and the overall potential consequences of that action.

Dempsey has warned that the notion of a limited "no-fly" zone would pose great risk to aircrews because of a sophisticated Syrian air defense system.

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. In home personal training

    U.S. military presence in Jordan quietly grows, Not so quiet anymore.

    April 16, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  2. Chat

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    October 5, 2013 at 4:44 am | Reply
  3. yinka

    I am upset these disputes are taking long to resolve in Syria. To me its been going on since the 80s. We cannot stand for ungoverned caios in the world. The American people and President Obama have a duty to protect the american people and our friends and allies. We do not want this war fuelling a new Jihad to the United States, like the Pentaagon bombing or the Twin towers bombing. It is important we take a stand, settle the dispute, end the war and have an American presence out there. We are for peace, and we should do all in our power to enforce it. The Jordanians or the Americans, as long as peace is sought and enforced, and the world knows what is going on at all times. We, the American people will be safe in our backyards.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:55 am | Reply
  4. toao1967

    in the words of the great Ted Cruz, congressman:

    Will Obama require background checks from these Jordanians before giving them weapons?

    (paid by you and me, by the way..)

    In case anyone is noticing Jordan is the only other arab country that attacked Israel back in '67, or so. Egypt? Gone. Syria? Going..going..

    what will Israel do with all of this destabilized arab land?? hmmm...let us see...grab it of course, hook nose and all.

    June 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  5. rubes

    the French? haha. they barely could take care of some sand farmers in Mali.

    June 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  6. mike

    the only solution-IS REVOLUTION-

    June 21, 2013 at 8:19 am | Reply
  7. Carson Thaler

    A quiet build up in Jordan over little ole Syria? Hey people... Don't buy the norm... These stories are just public programming. We're (the us) actually quite active over there and it's just not being disclosed/reported on. So don't buy the facade- especially when the sin is being committed in your name...

    June 20, 2013 at 11:21 am | Reply
  8. brown

    Hahahahaha!

    Your elected representatives haven't found a conflict they didn't like.

    THIS IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF BEING AN UNINFORMED ELECTORATE.

    YOU WILL ULTIMATELY SURRENDER YOUR COUNTRY!

    hahaha!

    You have the representation you so richly deserve!

    June 20, 2013 at 3:55 am | Reply
    • USMC1369

      How so very true that rings, brown. Thank you. I couldn't have said it better!

      June 20, 2013 at 7:38 am | Reply
    • JT

      "your elected representatives haven't found a conflict they don't like"

      take your pick of the many ignored conflicts in Africa and indeed this particular conflct that if your logic were to be true, we'd have entered years ago.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • well...here we go again......

      We the people have been locked out of our government for a very long time. The Supreme Court sealed the deal completely with the Citizens United ruling (corporate money in politics).

      When a group of rich, arrogant people take the reigns – it doesn't matter which country- it becomes almost impossible to restore the government to a balanced and fair standing without violence. And because most normal people abhor the thought of violence we are kinda screwed...because the type drawn to power are almost always arrogant, self serving and shifty.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  9. Duncan

    I'm so sick of this country minding everybody's business. We should spend these resources on the people who should matter most to the government, their own citizens!

    June 20, 2013 at 12:45 am | Reply
  10. Steve

    Where does one find real news these days?

    June 19, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • Wgf

      Heheh I guess the Tabloid's. No disrespect intended.

      June 20, 2013 at 5:51 am | Reply
  11. ken

    Just stop this middle east BS. I'm watching WWIII warming up in this country with public support not asked for or citizen notifications. Syria has done nothing to me. My government done me more harm then good. Why should I support a fight in Syria???

    June 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  12. Joe

    If the US Navy is there to defend israel, why are we subsidizing their military?

    June 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  13. Greg Faith

    Why does the United States always have to be the baby sitter? Could the Canadians or the French or the Italians for instance put their defensive weapons on the ground there. Where is the United Nations anyway. This is their job!

    June 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      You nailed it good, Greg. Why can't the French do this? In fact, if Obama's so adamant about getting rid of the Assad regime in Syria, all he has to do is to tell French Pres. Francois Hollande to do the job for him which can be done in three weeks without one American soldier or bullet! Besides, the French have already occupied Syria from 1919 to 1941!

      June 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
    • Andrew Davis

      Canada's military consists of some mounties, a couple flying squirrels and a canoe... and the french cant find a rifle that hasn't been dropped

      June 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
      • terr

        they have both fought heroically and lost many lives in wars that mattered, a remark like that is why every country hates us and thinks were stupid

        June 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  14. Abbey

    What a bunch of lazy reporters and press we have these days. These exercises have been going on for quite sometime in one fashion or another. Operation Bright Star veteran 85

    June 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply

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