NEWS | Jan. 12, 2017

Colorado National Guard hosts Jordanian military during first air base defense exchange in Colorado

By Staff Sgt. Bobbie Reynolds Colorado National Guard

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of the Royal Jordanian Air Force and Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army visited the Colorado Air National Guard's 140th Security Forces Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, during the first National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program Air Base Defense exchange in Colorado, Jan. 11-12. 

Since 2004, the Colorado National Guard and the JAF have partnered through the SPP, however, this is the first time that the Jordanians, COANG SF and the Aurora Police Department have collaborated.  

"The purpose of the Jordanian visit is really three-fold," said Air Force Maj. Aaron Kemplin, commander of the 233rd Security Forces Squadron, in Greeley, Colo. "The first one is building interoperability through our strong partner relationships. The second is improving cultural awareness skills among our personnel, and the third is enhancing our air base defense capabilities by exchanging ideas and demonstrating the critical roles Non-Commissioned Officers have in leading military personnel." 

"It's all about relationships," said Air Force Col. Robert McCloy, director of Joint Plans, at Joint Force Headquarters – Colorado in Centennial. 

A visit with Jordanian military starts with relationships. 

"It's not so much about the job and what information we're going to exchange; it's about the relationship we need to develop first," said McCloy. "There are many objectives to meet and a short time to do it, however, trust has to be established before any other matters are discussed."  

"Most other cultures around the world take time to get to know each other before getting down to business.  Here in the United States military, we're used to hitting the ground at 07:30, getting what we need and moving out," said McCloy. "We need to understand that whether we're in Colorado or in Jordan, we should take the time to get to know each other and talk about our families, who we are and why we're here. Once you start building a relationship, then you can move on to exchange information."  

Because this trip was the second of three, and areas of need were already identified, discussions regarding secure facilities and community safety protocol, were ready to begin. 

McCloy said they shared information on needs already identified and began to demonstrate strategies and ways to improve them.  

The importance of partnering and sharing information helps better secure our own homeland, but it also helps Jordan secure theirs, McCloy said. 

The threats confronting Jordan are real. Both inside and out.  

"Make no bones about it, they're on the front lines," said McCloy. 

"We have internal threats and external threats," said the director of military security for the JAF. "Because of the location of Jordan between Syria, Iraq, and the West Bank, we expect threats to come from other bases.  At the same time, we expect threats from our own personnel, who are drawn by certain ideology."  

McCloy said the key to keeping the partnership strong and collaborating with the Jordanians on air base defense best practices is trust.  

According to McCloy, every potential change brought about by suggestions builds on that. This includes suggesting NCOs take on more responsibility and demonstrate how important they are to military defense.  

"We empower our NCOs to do a lot," said McCloy. "Everything runs with them." 

Kemplin said that NCOs are the backbone of the mission, an essential component of success, with roles and responsibilities that require decision-making.  

The commander of ground base defense for the RJAF said he was encouraged by what he saw in the roles and responsibilities of CONG's NCOs.  

He stated that he was surprised at the role NCOs had and the amount of information and education that the NCOs presented to the RJAF. 

"You can depend on them," the RJAF commander of ground base defense said. "You trained them very well; I believe that."

The RJAF observed relationships and roles in the CONG, but they also took note of CONG security practices.  

The RJAF commander also said that he observed procedures helpful to them regarding base security, exercised by security forces personnel. 

Kemplin said that they discussed entry control points, radio procedures, tactics and techniques.  

The 140th SFS coordinated a hands-on demonstration with shooting simulations. They reviewed standards of operations.  The RJAF witnessed an exercise for a base disturbance and diversion that focused on demonstrating common U.S. base security procedures. 

"The exchange of ideas and information sharing is critical," said Kemplin. "We're learning from the RJAF just as they are learning from us." 

"It's hard to believe that a cup of coffee or tea and a conversation can be the groundwork for trust and a vital partnership; however, it is," Kemplin said.

"It's a good idea for us to think about how we can make internal friends or an internal circle, so we can make it a high level of security on base," the RJAF commander said. "This is very important for me." 

Cultural awareness increases; security strengthens; trust grows. 

"We can trust each other with different ideas and information." The RJAF commander said.  "The cooperation for information is excellent." 

Under two different flags, the exchange focused on one mission: the safety and security of military personnel, facilities, and equipment.  Participants said they also grew as military partners and as friends.