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Senior Leadership Seminar puts spotlight on emerging threats

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Sep 03,2019 - Last updated at Sep 03,2019

AMMAN — The Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) and the US Armed Forces on Tuesday held the third Senior Leadership Seminar (SLS), which is part of the Eager Lion 2019 exercise, shedding light on traditional and emerging threats.

The Eager Lion 2019 exercise is among the most important and biggest drills that JAF implements in terms of the nature and volume of participating forces and countries.

"Unfortunately, the world we live in is unstable, volatile and full of dangers that threaten our safety and security:  Civil wars, ideological problems, cyber attacks, chemical weapons," said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Thalji, the drill’s spokesperson, during the third and biggest SLS, held at the InterContinental Hotel in Amman. 

The disruption of production due to conflict has impacted the wealth and prosperity of many countries around the world, he said, noting that "the recent loss of income from tourism because of indiscriminate attacks or the threat of attacks has been bitterly felt in many countries".

He also highlighted the impacts of continued sectarian violence and the increasing poverty gap, noting that "we need to face the threats head-on, the military supported by many others, to be able to deal with the crises and chaos caused by conflict." 

The event provides a forum to exchange information, discuss ideas, promote understanding of complex issues and strengthen and develop the bonds that exist between partner nations and allies, Thalji said. 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Yousef Huneiti said: "I am pleased to inform you that the exercise is progressing well, and to date, has been a resounding success, with around 8,000 troops from 29 nations all participants have reaped considerable benefit."

With the impact of impending climate change and the rise of nationalism amongst disenfranchised elements of societies, it has become vitally important to cooperate in all sectors, Huneiti said.

"Traditional and emerging foes will continue to develop their capabilities, and we must do likewise together, we must strive to defeat not only our foes' forces but also their ideology. Only by training together for the worst possible scenarios can we safeguard our societies for future generations," he noted.

Huneiti drew attention to how nations are becoming reliant on digital infrastructure across all sectors of society, referring to the first topic of the SLS, which focused on cyber-security. 

The second topic focused on measures aginst extremism: violent ideologies which, Huneiti said, must be confronted and defeated not only militarily but also by prevention and rehabilitation.

The SLS' third topic focused on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence and protective measures.

"We must be fully prepared to minimise the damage caused, contain the aftermath and prevent reoccurrence. This requires not only military effort,” Huneiti said. 

For his part, US Central Command’s Director of Exercises and Training Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Swanson said that it was his “distinct pleasure to represent the 3,200 Americans participating in Exercise Eager Lion 2019 under way as we speak”. 

“Eager Lion is the US Central Command's premier exercise in the Levant and is also a major training event that provides JAF, US forces and 28 other participating nations with the opportunity to improve our collective ability to plan and operate in a coalition environment," Swanson said.

He added that JAF troops have shown year after year their ability to host an exercise "as large and complex with amazing capability and skill, and 2019 is no different." 

"Preparation and planning will begin soon again for Eager Lion 2021, building upon the success of this year," he said.

The ninth edition of the Eager Lion military drill commenced on August 25, executed with 8,000 land, marine and air forces.

In addition to the JAF, forces from the US, Australia, Austria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Italy, Cyprus, Bahrain, Qatar, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Spain, the UAE, the UK, Tajikistan and Norway are taking part in the drill.

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