The first organized army in Jordan was established on 22 October 1920, and was named the "Mobile Force". At the time it only had 150 men in its ranks. On its third anniversary in 1923, the force was renamed the Arab Legion
, consisting of 1,000 men. By the time Jordan became an independent state in 1946, the Arab Legion numbered some 8,000 soldiers in 3 mechanized regiments. In 1956, King Hussein
dismissed all British generals and changed the name of the Legion into the "Jordanian Arab Army" in what became known as the Arabization of the Jordanian Army command
It is today considered to be among the most professional in the region, and is seen as particularly well-trained, organized, and equipped.
Arab Revolt Tribal Cavalry – Tribes of Jordan and Arabia, c. 1918
The first organized army in Jordan was established on 22 October 1920, and was named the "Mobile Force", at the time it was 150 man strong under the command of the British Captain Frederick Peake
. On its third anniversary, in October 1923, the now-1,000-man force was renamed the Arab Legion
In 1939, John Bagot Glubb
, better known as Glubb Pasha, became the Legion's commander, and continued in office until the dismissal of British officers in March 1956. On 1 April 1926, the Transjordan Frontier Force
was formed, consisting of only 150 men and most of them were stationed along Transjordan's roads.
The Arabization of the Jordanian Army command
(Arabic: تعريب قيادة الجيش العربي, Ta'reeb Qiyadat Al-Jaysh Al-Arabi) saw the dismissal of senior British officers commanding the Arab Legion
by King Hussein
and the subsequent renaming of the Legion into the Jordanian Armed Forces on 1 March 1956. Glubb Pasha
, the Arab Legion's British commander, was replaced with Major General Radi Annab
, who became the first Arab commander of the Arab Legion. Hussein's intentions to Arabize the Army command were to replace British officers with Jordanian officers, assert political independence from Britain, and improve relations with neighboring Arab states that viewed the British with suspicion. An annual celebration is held on 1 March in Jordan to mark the historic event.
Structure and objectives
The army's organisational structure was traditionally based on two armoured divisions and two mechanized divisions. These have been transformed into a lighter, more mobile forces, based largely on a brigade structure and considered better capable of rapid reaction in emergencies. An armoured division has become the core element of a strategic reserve.
The main objectives of the Jordanian Armed Forces are:
- Protect the Kingdom of Jordan borders from any invasion.
- Protect the people inside the Kingdom and their rights.
- Protect the King of Jordan.
Royal Jordanian Army Order of Battle (OrBat) 2020
Special Operations Forces
Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16
Fighting Falcon aircraft fighter pilots fly over Jordan October 19, 2009
Founded on April 15, 1963, on the orders of the late King Hussein, its primary roles include reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, search and evacuation, intelligence gathering combat, and the protection of key sites. King Abdullah II Special Forces Group
are also charged with carrying out precision strikes against critical enemy targets. The unit is equipped and trained to be able to operate behind enemy lines for long periods without any logistical support, and is considered one of the finest special forces units in the world.
The group is supported by the newly founded Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Brigade
which is a brigade-strength forces with high combat readiness, immediate response speed, flexible and highly mobile that are able to operate independently, within Jordanian forces, or with friendly and allied forces to defend Jordanian national security within the borders of the Kingdom of Jordan or Outside in all circumstances at the time and place and in accordance with the orders of the General Command of the Armed Forces.
The Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate (GID) is reportedly one of the most important intelligence agencies in the Middle East
and is considered one of the most professional in the Arab world
Their mission is to contribute to the safeguarding of the country. The agency is known for its extensive activity in Jordan and throughout the Middle East, as well as its cooperation with American, British intelligence by which the directorate can protect Jordan and the Jordanian people. Through a complex spying system, it plays a central role in preserving stability in the nation.
Jordan is a recent entrant to the domestic defense industry with the establishment of King Abdullah Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) in 1999. The defense industrial initiative is intended to jumpstart industrialization across a range of sectors. With the Jordanian defense expenditures at 8.7% of GDP, the Jordanian authorities created the defense industry to utilize defense budget spending power and to assist in economic growth without placing additional demands on the national budget. Jordan also hosts SOFEX
, the world's fastest growing and region's only special operations and homeland security exhibition and conference.
Jordan is a regional and international provider of advanced military goods and services.
A KADDB Industrial Park was opened in September 2009 in Mafraq
. It is an integral industrial free zone specialized in defense industries and vehicles and machinery manufacturing. By 2015, the park is expected to provide around 15,000 job opportunities whereas the investment volume is expected to reach JD500 million.
The Jordanian Armed Forces has been a strong supporter and participant of UN peacekeeping missions
Jordan ranks among the highest internationally in taking part in UN peacekeeping missions.
The size of the Jordanian participation in various areas of the United Nations peacekeeping troops and staff, hospital and international observers, is estimated to be 61,611 officers and men, starting in 1989 in Angola
through the task of military observers and humanitarian security forces.
After France and the UK, Jordan was the largest contributor of troops to the UN forces in the former Yugoslavia
, sending three battalions, or over three thousand troops, from 1993 to 1996.
At the U.N. Copenhagen summit, Jordan was alone, out of more than 30 developing nations, in unveiling plans to help fight climate change, including upgrading its armed forces by 2020, an area usually overlooked in the global warming debate. The army will seek to upgrade engines and old vehicles and use energy saving technologies.
A Jordanian military doctor examines a child in Afghanistan, October 2009.
In addition to providing domestic and border security for the country, the Jordanian Armed Forces have assumed a prominent regional and international role as a provider of humanitarian assistance and military training.
Jordan has dispatched several field hospitals
to conflict zones and areas affected by natural disasters across the world such as Iraq
, the West Bank
, Sierra Leone
, and Pakistan
. The Kingdom's field hospitals have extended aid to some one million people in the West Bank and 55,000 in Lebanon.
On 24 November 2010, another Jordanian military field hospital (Gaza 11) arrived in the coastal territory of Gaza
to replace (Gaza 10) whose tour of duty came to an end after treating 44,000 Palestinians and performing 720 minor and major surgeries since its inception in September 2010.
Police and military training
The Jordanians have helped Iraqis by providing them with military and police training as well as donating military and police equipment.
The armed forces trained tens of thousands of Iraqi troops and policemen after the U.S.-led invasion
Jordan has also begun training Libyan policemen as part of a programme to strengthen ties between the countries. The training programme is part of a wider plan to re-integrate 200,000 former rebel fighters into Libyan society.
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Last edited on 5 April 2021, at 15:10
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