Advance Headquarters Elements Operating in Jordan
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 Elements of the 1st Armored Division headquarters at Fort Bliss, Texas, are preparing for what’s expected to be a year-long mission in Jordan to help the Jordanian military deal with consequences of the Syrian conflict, Army Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, the division commander, told reporters today.
Members of the element, to be led by Army Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby Jr., deputy division commander for operations, are expected to rotate during the mission, Pittard said. Details are still being worked out, he added, estimating that deployments would be in the six-month range.
About 110 soldiers will deploy from Fort Bliss, with liaison officers and other augmentees to increase the element’s size closer to 200, he said.
On the ground, the element will coordinate with U.S. military forces operating in Jordan and provide assistance “in everything from humanitarian assistance to stability [operations] to other things in support of Jordan,” Pittard said. The operational role, however, is expected to be “very, very limited,” he said, adding that the headquarters is prepared to expand the mission and the scale of the mission as necessary.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the deployment during testimony yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The contingent will enhance efforts of a small U.S. military team that has been working in Jordan since last year on planning related to chemical weapons and preventing a spillover of violence across Jordan’s borders, the secretary told the Senate panel.
“These personnel will continue to work alongside Jordanian armed forces to improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios,” he said.
Pittard reported today that the advance party already is on the ground in Jordan preparing for the mission.
The division is regionally aligned with U.S. Central Command, and Pittard and most of his headquarters staff worked alongside their Jordanian counterparts during Exercise Eager Light in October, he said. Exercise Eager Lion, also in Jordan, is slated for June. Another portion of the headquarters is in Saudi Arabia for Exercise Earnest Leader, and others will participate in Exercise Bright Star in Egypt in September, he said.
The deployment comes just two weeks after the announcement that missile defenders based at Fort Bliss would deploy to Guam as a precautionary move to protect against North Korean missiles.
Members of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System battery deployed last week and are in place and operational in Guam, Pittard reported.
“They are well-trained and ready, and the capability they bring will certainly help to protect our country,” he said.
Pittard said he’s proud that Fort Bliss “has really become one of our premier installations” in the expeditionary Army.