Jordanian and US naval forces complete exercise Infinite Defender 20

The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) and US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard forces were participating in the exercise Infinite Defender (ID) 20 from September 1 to 10.

Photo: US Navy

ID 20 was 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.

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.

This year, the exercise has been 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.

An anti-terrorism force protection (ATFP) dive during ID 20. Photo: US Navy

US participants were associated with NAVCENT Task Forces 51/5, 55, and 56 which provides US 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 was 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 was 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.