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Sep 21, 2023


By Wade Evans

In July 2023, the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) Jordan team working with the Royal Jordanian Navy (RJN) completed a 7-month Capability Based Assessment (CBA) focused on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The U.S. Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché (SDO/DATT) and Military Assistance Program-Jordan (MAP-J) initiated the CBA in order to support Jordanian efforts to secure the maritime borders of Jordan, secure the vital infrastructure of the Port of Aqaba, and enable the establishment of a Coast Guard unit.   

At the outset of the MDA CBA, Colonel Hisham Khaleel ALJARRAH, Commander of the RJN stated “Under the visionary guidance of the Chairman of Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), a Capability-Based Building Effort in the realm of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is being strategically pursued to attain His Majesty’s King Abdullah II vision. This initiative entails a comprehensive approach to enhancing the nation’s capacity to comprehend, manage, and secure maritime activities. By prioritizing the development of cutting-edge technologies, robust surveillance systems, data fusion techniques and a skilled workforce, this endeavor aims to strengthen the homeland’s maritime surveillance capabilities. This proactive strategy aligns with His Majesty’s vision for a secure and thriving maritime environment, ensuring the protection of vital maritime interests, effective response to threats, and the sustainable management of maritime resources.” 

Over the course of the 7 months, the MDA CBA Committee assessed the RJN’s current ability to conduct holistic maritime domain awareness and determined future requirements to enhance Jordan’s ability to monitor, interdict, and protect against maritime based threats as outlined in the RJN MDA Future Concept. The Committee completed a baseline assessment, and executed the Capability, Gap, and Solutions Analysis phases of the CBA resulting in the development of recommendations to close or mitigate identified gaps.   

Integral to the success of the CBA was the development of a RJN MDA Future Concept detailing a multi-tiered maritime security operational management and response framework utilizing organic, inorganic, and dynamic response capabilities to detect, deter, identify, intercept, and interdict threats that might threaten Jordanian national security. The Concept served as the basis for determining capabilities required to execute future maritime domain awareness operations and in turn enabled the identification of capability gaps between “as is” and “to be” capabilities. Detailed analysis established 15 new or critical capabilities and 54 separate tasks deemed necessary to execute the RJN MDA Future Concept. Gaps identified were refined into 5 primary gaps which were prioritized by their potential impact and likelihood of occurrence. To mitigate the identified gaps, the MDA CBA Committee proposed potential solution approaches across the entirety of the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leader Development, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTMLPF-P) framework and organized them under four lines of effort in the MDA CBA implementation plan: 

  • Force Design (Organization and Personnel) 

  • Force Design (Materiel Upgrades and Procurements) 

  • Training Needs 

  • Logistics Improvements   

In order to more effectively address the gaps identified in the CBA, the RJN Commander directed that the organization, personnel, and logistics activities be closely aligned and nested with existing JAF wide Human Capital Development and Logistics modernization CBA implementation efforts. The RJN CDR stated “The MDA CBA is realistic, practical, and well organized. “ 

Of particular significance throughout the execution of the CBA was the JAF Chairman’s mandate to establish a Coast Guard unit within the RJN organizational structure. This pressing requirement necessitated the completion of the CBA within a compressed timeline and required the MDA CBA Committee to conduct a dedicated analysis of Coast Guard requirements including determination of an effective organizational structure, identification of personnel requirements based on operational requirements, and an analysis of Coast Guard fleet requirements.  

The RJN will now brief the outputs of the MDA CBA to the Jordanian Armed Forces Requirements Oversight Committee. Once approved by the Chairman, the implementation of the MDA CBA will secure Jordan’s maritime borders and protect the port of Aqaba and its critical infrastructure.