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News | April 4, 2023

U.S. Government and Jordan Armed Forces Jointly Participate in Jordan Shield Exercise 2023

By Story by Andrea Chaney Defense Threat Reduction Agency

AQABA, Jordan—Members of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Colorado National Guard (CONG), and in partnership with the Jordanian government, Jordan Armed Forces (JAF), and the National Center for Security and Crisis Management (NCSCM) participated in Field Training Exercise 2023 or Jordan Shield, in various regions around the country to demonstrate Jordan’s capabilities to respond and react to a range of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats.

The Jordan-led exercise simulated complex CBRN crisis scenarios, the first of its kind at the Jordanian state level, and was implemented jointly with the NCSCM, DTRA, CONG, and other security organizations.

The hub for the exercise centered around the NCSCM where crisis scenarios unfolded around the country simultaneously, and required real-time, joint responses from all participants. Col. Fadi Alfshikat, head of Arms Control and International Conduct branch, Jordanian Armed Forces, was the exercise control group leader and said Jordan Shield was an opportunity for them to examine their processes, test equipment and train personnel to better prepared for CWMD in their region.

“We have received a lot of materials concerned with CWMD from DTRA, so it’s good for us to see how our people are dealing with such threats,” said Fadi. “We’ve been working with DTRA for more than ten years. There has been a lot of training in this field for the military, civilian and CWMD incidents,” he said.

The Colorado National Guard is part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program with one of their partners being the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

“The CONG are very strong partners of Jordan and walk side-by-side with DTRA and the training, planning conferences for exercises of this level,” said Fadi.

Sgt. 1st Class Christian Gonzalez, an observer of the exercise and member of the CONG, reiterated the importance of cooperation in exercises like Jordan Shield.

“To be able to understand what details you need to fix, during exercises like this one, will make it smoother if there is a real-world event,” said Gonzalez. “Parallel to the same things we do back in Colorado, working with authorizes and learning from each other and understanding how to better respond,” he said.

Day one of the exercise was a chemical scenario that involved a terrorist attack that resulted in a pipeline explosion spreading ammonia among the local populous.

“Today, you saw all the different partners that we work with in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan exercising the CWMD capabilities that we have helped them build over the better half of the last decade,” said Robert Wagner, Advisory and Administrative support contractor for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program under DTRA. Wagner said the exercise was a culminating event after nearly 18 months of planning and preparation.

“It’s unique to DTRA because when people think of our Agency, they think of defense-related, military-related activities. But, this is actually a homeland security exercise, bringing together the Jordanians, the CONG and DTRA, to observe the capabilities developed over the years together,” he said. “Moreover, the exercise took place in the Port of Aqaba where about a year ago there was a real-world chlorine incident that took place, causing great damage. So it’s critical that they got this right,” he said.

Captain Rashad from the Civil Defense Department (CDD), was one of the team leads who responded on the ground immediately after the *MOCK* chemical leak.

“My team went back as the decontamination team after the leakage has been stopped, and all the cases were moved to the hazmat team for decontamination and assessment of the casualties,” said Rashad. “We were surprised on the number of cases given to us during the scenario. We treated more than 120 cases and had to call for more help from the CDD,” he said.

According to the participants, team leads, observers and other partners, the chemical scenario and day two of the exercise was a monumental success.

“I was an emergency responder by trade for almost a decade, and speaking from that experience, having participated and helped design and control hundreds of exercises, this one has gone phenomenal,” said Wagner. “Specifically, the attitudes I have seen the Jordanians bring is refreshing because that’s something you can’t teach,” he said. “They are excited about being here, they care about this mission and the government of Jordan not only supports, but also cares. In my opinion, that’s the most important component.”

Both Rashad and Fadi said exercises like Jordan Shield are important, not just for the training and practice, but because of the country’s geographical location.

“We want to make Jordan the hub for this region and we now have expertise in this field, so the security of this region also is the security of the global population,” said Fadi.

Rashad echoed the exercise leader about the importance of training and succeeding in this region.

“If any terrorists try to mess with or disturb the national security in Aqaba, Jordan will be prepared to respond.”

For more information on Jordan Shield and other DTRA programs, visit


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