The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan, is one of the world’s most prestigious centers. Special operations forces from all over the world come to acquire expertise and benefit from the center’s advanced technology. Jordan has been keen to select professional leaders and experts to lead this strategic center since its inception in 2009.
Brig. Gen. Ahmad Kaiber, the center’s director, has such a background: He has held critical positions and played a major role in building special operations capabilities. He was an instructor of advanced tactics at Jordan’s Infantry School. He served as deputy commander of the Jordanian Special Operations School and as commanding officer for the Joint Operations Command’s Joint Intelligence Office. He also served as director of training and operations at KASOTC.
During the May 2017 Eager Lion exercise, the general hosted the Unipath team in his office. With typical Jordanian generosity and humility, he outlined plans to develop the center, as well as the challenges and importance of international partnerships. The conversation began with a discussion of his highest ideals of leadership:
“My greatest role model of military leadership is His Majesty King Abdullah; he was our direct commander of special operations before he assumed his responsibilities as king of Jordan. Since taking command, he has had a vision of developing this strategic weapon and developing the concept of military action and professionalism of special operations forces. As a result, Jordanian special operations forces are among the best in the world.”
Brig. Gen. Ahmad believes that the center’s training has played a major role in the defeat of Daesh in Iraq.
“We are proud and appreciative of what Iraqi special operations forces achieved. We closely follow their victories against the Daesh gangs, and we are devastated when we hear about the death of one of our Iraqi brothers who trained here at KASOTC.
“We have been training Iraqi special operations forces since 2003, but after the events in Mosul, we began to focus our training on defeating Daesh. We focus on qualitative training, preparing men for both a physical and psychological fight. Our highly trained experts mold them into elite forces. The greatest proof of this is the success and distinction with which they have managed the battles, which reflect the quality and professionalism of the training here at KASOTC.”
KASOTC’s success depends upon a director with insights into the future and the ability to develop forces and adapt to modern battlefields.
“My main objective is to maintain the center’s strategy, which was drawn up by His Majesty the King, of being an international specialized center,” Brig. Gen. Ahmad said. “I plan to upgrade the quality of the center’s training, keep abreast of international training techniques and maintain the professional quality of our logistical services. In this regard, we have conducted a comprehensive study of the center’s performance in previous years, developing a strategic plan to make it one of the best international centers to train the world’s armies in counterterrorism and special operations tactics.”
KASOTC also stays abreast of developments in how terrorists operate, with the aim of devising effective counterterrorism techniques.
“We have a special department of research. These departments are closely monitoring all the events taking place worldwide, especially in the Middle East, as it is the most volatile region. I have a team dedicated to tracking terrorists’ tactics and making plans to address them. This makes training at our center consistent with the most up-to-date methods of countering terrorist threats.”
Brig. Gen. Ahmad urges Soldiers to participate in the center’s Annual Warrior Competition, one of the KASOTC’s most important events. The 2017 competition included 33 teams from 17 countries.
“This competition is a great opportunity for elite forces from around the world to exchange experiences and learn about the potential of allied countries in the field of counterterrorism. In addition, it’s an opportunity to familiarize participating teams with their readiness and development, addressing weaknesses and focusing on the positive points.”
Drawing on the words of King Abdullah, Brig. Gen. Ahmad argues that just as the wicked of the world unite to propagate hatred and murder, the virtuous must come together to confront them.
“Terrorist networks have become transnational, with branches of terrorist organizations found all around the world. International efforts must be united in fighting these groups, regardless of their labels, because all of them post a threat to the innocent and world peace. If we do not draw on the expertise of partner nations or share intelligence, we cannot defeat terrorist organizations, especially because these organizations have international connections for recruitment and funding.”
Exchanging experiences and building international partnerships through joint exercises is the General’s guiding principle.
“Without sharing in the training and partnering in these exercises, the fighter will feel that he lacks capabilities, because there is no standard for comparison. That is, he is limited to comparison with his teammate,” the general said. “Therefore, international exercises are the fighter’s only chance to see the potential and capabilities of the world’s armies.
“Eager Lion is a top worldwide exercise in which most countries participate. It is the latest quantum leap in the development of Jordan’s special operations capabilities, where partnerships, meetings with participating countries’ teams and joint exercises give the fighter experience in the field and increase his confidence in his weapons and training.”
Brig. Gen. Ahmad said he is dedicated to maintaining KASOTC’s position internationally.
“We aspire to be in the best in the world. Therefore, we must join efforts and work as a team to develop our technology, develop the capabilities of our trainers and intensify our courses on language and communication skills.
“The second challenge is to keep pace with the world in terms of weaponry, since every day there are new weapons and equipment. To keep up with these developments, we must acquire and gain familiarity with these weapons, equipment, adapting them for our own use in training and on the battlefield. This requires constant contact with manufacturers.”