“I love the JAF!” exclaimed a sparsely-mustached cadet at the Royal Military Academy in Az‑Zarqa, Jordan, when asked why he was sweltering in the summer heat.
Fresh out of university, he’s now learning military tactics that will help him lead his soldiers in the days, weeks, and years to come.
At this proclamation, his classmates collectively smiled and nodded – some even laughed. To the insiders, this appeared to be a silly question. To an outsider, the affection these cadets have for both their country and the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army is contagious. It’s clear that these cadets are doing exactly what they want to do: support their kingdom by transforming into Jordan’s next military leaders.
While the paths to officership in the JAF and in the U.S. military are similar, cultural differences in leadership philosophies and principles sometimes diverge.
In an effort to understand these practical differences and grow as partners, company-grade officers from the Colorado National Guard and JAF partnered for the first time in January 2018, in Colorado, and in August 2018, in Jordan. Together, they discussed the similarities and differences in leadership style, and learned practices and strategies from each other, to improve as leaders.
The company-grade officer exchange is the newest addition to the JAF-CONG partnership. The JAF and CONG leaders look to capitalize on developmental opportunities for young leaders, both officers and non-commissioned Officers, and, eventually, for command teams.
The National Guard State Partnership Program made this exchange possible. Facilitated by the National Guard Bureau, SPP ties a state’s National Guard with the armed forces of a partner country in a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship. This effort enhances long-term international security, improves a combatant commander’s ability to build enduring relationships, and supports mutually beneficial growth among all stakeholders. The only such partnership in the Levant region, Jordan and Colorado have been partners since 2004.
Unlike more common tactical engagements that strive to further interoperability, such as tactical maneuvers or aircraft maintenance, this line of partnership focuses on the legal and ethical considerations and intersections of officership and leadership, and by extension, it empowering command teams.
Bridging the gap between NCOs and senior officers, the role of a company-grade officer in a command team is to ensure collective training and team development, while the NCO focuses on ensuring individual training supports a unit’s collective tasks, and supporting and advising the commander. As individuals, an officer and an NCO affect each other, and as a command team, they influence their formations. Their command relationship is key to the success – or failure – of their team.
“The importance of our partnership with Jordan, and Jordan’s role in strengthening regional security, can’t be understated,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Greg White, the Colorado National Guard’s director of Joint Staff. “How CGOs and NCOs come together to function within their military in an ethical sense, and to lead formations, informs our militaries of today – and how we’ll operate as allies in the future.”
“In an often troubled region, Jordan is a voice of reason, and the young officers of today play a significant role in shaping the future,” White said.