Panetta confirms U.S. military has sent 150 advisers to Jordan

The U.S. military recently sent a team of planners to Jordan to help Amman prepare for potential trouble caused by Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed that a team of 150 Americans was dispatched to Amman. He said, in addition to dealing with chemical weapons, the team was sent to help Jordan deal with the growing number of Syrian refugees and to bolster its military capabilities, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A senior U.S. defense official said the contingent is made up mainly of U.S. Army special forces soldiers. They are currently constructing a headquarters building in Amman and will soon begin conducting joint operational planning and intelligence sharing with Jordanian counterparts.

The U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the team has already been in Jordan for several months and has grown since it first arrived. The official confirmed it was already in place when Panetta visited King Abdullah in August.

"We have been working with Jordan for a period of time now ... on a number of the issues that have developed as a result of what's happened in Syria," Panetta said, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A second U.S. official, also anonymously, said that the military's planners were not currently engaged in covert operations and have been housed at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center since their arrival in early summer.