Kingdom of Jordan Signs Up for Counter Terrorism Exercise with Cytel Group

SOFEX 2012: Jordan signs up for counter-terrorism exercise

5/10/2012 9:49PM | Andrew White | Amman Jordan

Jordan’s Gendarmerie has signed a contract with Cytel Group to implement its ‘Urban Shield’ counter-terrorism exercise later in the year, it was revealed at the Special Operations Exhibition (SOFEX).

Urban Shield is designed to identify shortfalls in a region’s emergency response capabilities and the first exercise in Jordan is due to take place between 15 and 18 November this year.

The exercise tests command and control from the highest to lowest levels as well as every tactical response by the military, law enforcement, fire and rescue services and hazardous material teams. An after-action-review is then implemented to identify strengths and weaknesses in the entire process.

Scenarios include bomb detection and disposal; dynamic tactical entry; hostage negotiations and rescue; maritime interdiction; urban search and rescue; weapons of mass destruction; and critical infrastructure protection.

The 48-hour exercise will involve sites including the Port of Aqaba as well as ‘major hotels and tourist attractions’, power plants, shopping malls and transportation systems. The King Abdullah II Special Operations training centre will also be utilised alongside the Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II Civil Defense Training Centre and Gendarmerie training centres in Alswaqa and Kafrayn.

Urban Shield has been made available to Jordan by the US Department of Homeland Security with funding completed via the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Similar exercises have already been conducted by Cytel Group in Boston in May last year with a repeat exercise being prepared for in November. Other exercises are planned in San Francisco, California in October and Austin, Texas in December.

Explaining the two-year programme to Shephard, Cytel Group president James Baker said: ‘Urban Shield allows organisations to identify gaps, fix, test and evaluate them prior to a real emergency. It has helped stabilise entire regions by identifying the risks and specialist capabilities needed.’

Finally, Baker outlined his desire to run multiple Urban Shield exercises concurrently around the world in order to best understand how to deal with widespread counter-terrorism operations.

Ayman A. Masri | Former Director of International Training | Cytel Group, Inc