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US Central Command (Forward) - Jordan (CF-J)

US Central Command (Forward) - Jordan, also written CENTCOM Forward - Jordan and abbreviated CF-J, is a forward deployed command element subordinate to US Central Command. The command element operates from the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan. CF-J coordinates between US and Jordanian forces, as well as among other US organizations, including the US Agency for International Development, the US State Department, and the roughly 1,000 members of the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force in-country by August 2013. At that time, CF-J itself consisted of approximately 200 personnel.

CF-J's primary mission is to support US military assistance efforts in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. CENTCOM efforts in Jordan include a regular combined exercise schedule, as well as training support for Jordanian deployments in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan beginning in December 2001. By 2012, the US Marine Corps Forces was the lead entity in charge of what was known as the Jordan Operational Deployment Program.

US military presence in Jordan increased as violence in Syria continued to escalate as protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 2011 gave way to an active insurgency against the regime by 2012. On 17 April 2013, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the deployment of elements of the 1st Armored Division headquarters to Jordan in response to the ongoing crisis in Syria. The elements from 1st Armored Division would join forces that already in Jordan, providing a cohesive command and control element in cooperation with Jordan forces. While not assigned with CF-J, the task force could be expected to coordinate with CF-J. If directed, the elements from the 1st Armored Division could establish a joint task force headquarters that would provide command and control for chemical weapons response, humanitarian assistance efforts, and stability operations. US personnel already in Jordan were said to have already been facilitating the exchange of information with the Jordanians and supporting US humanitarian assistance efforts in Jordan. This appeared to be a product of lessons learned from the creation of Joint Task Force Odyssey Guard, which was created in October 2011 to perform similar functions in post-conflict Libya, to include securing chemical weapons. In addition to the elements from Headquarters, 1st Armored Division, there was an augmentation from other services and a sprinkling of civilians. The team in Jordan also included liaison officers linking them to the services, special operations forces, the US Embassy in Jordan, USAID, Britain, Canada and France.

On 3 June 2013 it was reported that CENTCOM had decided on 31 May 2013 to deploy Patriot surface to air missiles and F-16 fighter aircraft to Jordan as part Exercise Eager Lion 13. It was also reported that these assets might remain in the country after the exercise finished in response to the continuing crisis in Syria. President Obama formally announced on 21 June 2013, in a letter to Congress regarding the War Powers Resolution that at the request of the Government of Jordan, a combat-equipped detachment of approximately 700 personnel remained in Jordan after the conclusion of Exercise Eager Lion 13, joining other US forces already in Jordan. The detachment included Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems. The detachment was remain in Jordan, in full coordination with the Government of Jordan, until the security situation became such that it was no longer needed. The US Army's 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, an element of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, was likely the Patriot missile unit in question.

In December 2013, US Army personnel from 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery conducted a joint operation with US Naval aviators and Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon personnel at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery was likely the Patriot missile unit deployed to Jordan as part of the US response to the crisis in neighboring Syria. During the exercise, Navy MH-60 aircraft inserted a Marine Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team platoon into the air defense site operated by Battery C, 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery. This opportunity allowed Navy Pilots the unique training opportunity to land on an Army site in rough terrain as compared to a Naval Vessel. The FAST Platoon, manned with over 50 Marines, landed on the Patriot site and were immediately received and integrated into the Patriot air defense site's base defense plan. This training exercise was the first of its kind in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility and multiple rehearsals and communications tests were conducted to ensure that the different military forms of communication could be configured to work together. Future exercises were already in the works with the intent to build upon the lessons learned during the exercise, further expanding the joint capability and cooperation needed for this kind of operational environment.




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