The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) and U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard forces are participating in the exercise Infinite Defender (ID) 20 from Sept. 1 to 10.
ID 20 is the capstone in a series of bilateral exercises between the JAF and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), aimed at enhancing partnership and interoperability between the two countries’ armed forces.
ID 20 is focused on maritime infrastructure protection (MIP), explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP). Participating U.S. forces include a guided-missile destroyer (DDG), a Navy EOD and dive team, a Coast Guard maritime engagement team (MET), a Marine Corps platoon, and additional staff and personnel.
“Training alongside our JAF counterparts allows us to sharpen our skills against regional threats to maritime security, and we are proud to be partnering with Jordan for this exercise,” said Capt. Christopher Gilbertson, commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 and Task Force (TF) 55. “ID 20 allows our forces to practice skillsets such as countering small boat attacks, protecting harbors and maritime infrastructure and supporting lawful use of regional waterways through visit, board, search, and seizure operations.”
The JAF regularly conducts maritime exercises and operations with NAVCENT, including their involvement with Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Jordan has commanded CMF Combined Tasks Forces three times.
“We look forward to the opportunity each year to host our U.S. Navy and Marine Corps colleagues in the execution of Infinite Defender,” Col. Hisham Khaleel Aljarrah, Commander of the Royal Jordanian Naval Forces. “This exercise is an opportunity for us to improve our partnership, share our experience and enhance our abilities to ensure security and stability in the region together.”
U.S. participants are associated with NAVCENT Task Forces 51/5, 55, and 56 which provides U.S. service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard the opportunity to refine their skills in critical mission areas while working alongside critical regional partners.
“Our blue-green team has a long history of operating alongside the JAF to address common threats to regional security,” said Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan, commander of Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “It is crucial that we maintain this strong relationship and continue to hone our mutual defensive capabilities.”
ID 20 is also the largest bi-lateral exercise NAVCENT has taken part in since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic earlier this year. The participants have conducted multiple virtual planning conferences to ensure all requirements and cross-coordination are met. Throughout the exercise, personnel are adhering to health and safety guidelines, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings, to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.