Jordan, US Begin “Eager Lion 2016” Military Drill

Petra News Agency The Jordan Times17.05.2016 Jordan

Director of Joint Military Training at the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army Brig. Gen. Fahed Damen holds a joint press conference with Director of Exercise and Training Division at US Central Command Maj. Gen. Ralph Groover in Amman on Sunday (Photo: Petra)

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The “Eager Lion 2016” began on May 15 and concludes on May 24, as announced in a press conference held Sunday at the Joint Special Operations Command, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The annual Eager Lion exercises, which first started in 2011, are being conducted this year in partnership with the US.

Director of Joint Military Training at the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) Brig. Gen. Fahed Damen said that the drills will be conducted with the participation of ground, naval and air forces, amounting to around 6,000 participants representing JAF and US forces.

Damen said the training this year aims at enhancing cooperation between the two armies, which have been “bound by strategic relations for more than 60 years”.

The training is held at JAF’s training fields, Damen said, adding that there will be participants from JAF forces, security bodies, ministries, government and non-governmental organizations, and the National Centre for Security and Crises Management.

For his part, Director of Exercise and Training Division at US Central Command Major General Ralph Groover said that the Eager Lion is the “biggest exercise” for the US Central Command with Jordan since 2011.

He said that the exercise provides the two sides with an opportunity to enhance their ties and their capabilities to respond to crises and threats.

Groover said that there are 3,000 US army officers taking part in the Eager Lion, representing various units in the US Central Command.

According to the US Defense Department, Eager Lion 16 will consist of a “week-long series of simulated scenarios to facilitate a coordinated partnered military response to conventional and unconventional threats”.

The exercise scenarios will include border security, command and control, cyber defense and battle space management, the department said in a statement on its website, citing defense officials.

In its 2015 edition, Eager Lion saw the participation of the armies of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Lebanon, Iraq, the UK, France, Italy, Pakistan, Canada, Belgium, Poland and Australia, in addition to the US representatives of NATO.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah II of Jordan met Sunday with Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Group at the US Department of State.

Talks during the meeting focused on regional and international efforts to fight threat of terrorism, notably the ISIS Group.

They also reviewed the current situation in the region, particularly the developments in Syria and Iraq.

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