KASOTC – AN INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR SPECIAL OPERATIONS TRAINING
By Julian Nettlefold
Nestling in the mountains north of Jordan’s capital, Amman is the most comprehensive, sophisticated, live-fire facility available; providing state-of-the-art infrastructure for the most advanced training in the world. This military-like complex is actually a commercial business made available to global Special Forces and Law Enforcement units worldwide to conduct their training to combat global terrorism – The King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC). Earlier this year, BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold was invited by KASOTC’s Business Development Manager, John G. Worman, to have an exclusive facility tour and briefing. This presentation was more comprehensive than the brief tour arranged during SOFEX 2012.
Background to KASOTC
KASOTC was the brainchild of King Abdullah II of Jordan in 1996 to create a unique facility for training the world’s Special Forces helping them develop and share new tactics, techniques and procedures to combat growing world-wide terrorism. The first job was to find a location that would not only provide the required security and isolation but also the geography that allowed for live fire and explosives activities as well as a training area which provided the environment and infrastructure to support every possible scenario faced by Special Forces in any part of the world. After an extensive search for the right location, King Abdullah and his team decided that a disused quarry with an area of 25 square kilometres was the right location, the high walls gave unique security, the countryside was suitable for training, the area was near other facilities, there was ample space for barracks and sleeping quarters and the location allowed the use of long-range sniper training and the road system provided crucial access to the city of Amman as well as Marka military airport and Queen Alia International Airport.
Thus KASOTC was created from a clean sheet of paper to the $90 million dollar sprawling complex which BATTLESPACE saw in November. To ensure completion of this massive undertaking, Jordan obtained the support of the U.S. Government, who immediately saw the benefit of such a facility, and provided both financial and construction support, through the U.S. Corps of Engineers. ViaGlobal Group bid on management of the facility and was awarded the contract. In addition, the U.S. Government also provided support in the form of ViaGlobal Inc. , a specialist training Company which manages all the facilities and trains the teams.
ViaGlobal Group manages a team of more than 100 personnel at KASOTC, headed by Brigadier General Frank J. Toney Jr., USA (Retd.), himself a former commander of U.S. Special Forces and a soldier with a long history of international combat experience. BG Toney was recently inducted as a distinguished member of the Special Forces Regiment on March 6, 2012.
BG Toney, a former commander of both Special Operations Command Central and the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), is credited with reorienting Special Forces toward the unconventional warfare mission during the opening campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) and led the unit through combat during Operation Desert Storm. One noteworthy mission was to seize, clear, hold and safeguard the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Then-Lt. Col. Toney and his team conducted more than 70 sensitive, unilateral and combined high-risk missions in Kuwait City.
ViaGlobal Group is supported by the Jordanian Armed Forces with trainers, equipment and vehicles; they also provide access and security as well as a host of other functions. The Jordanian Armed Forces Counter-Terrorism unit and SOCOM are located adjacent to KASOTC, with additional training facilities available.
Tour of The Facilities
Armed with a notebook, as c