JORDAN -- Several Indiana National Guard soldiers with the 38th Infantry Division serving in support of Task Forces Spartan, including five judge advocates, participated in a subject matter expert exchange with about a dozen judges from the Jordan Armed Forces in September.
The multiday event focused on sharing information and best practices between the two legal corps.
"We were impressed most by our similarities, both as attorneys and as soldiers," said Col. James Zieba, of Carmel, Indiana, and Task Force Spartan's lead attorney and staff judge advocate.
United States and Jordanian military attorneys conducted presentations designed to foster a deeper understanding of how each country approaches complex legal issues such as the rules of engagement, laws of armed conflict and preventing unnecessary collateral damage.
The bilateral exchange gave a deeper understanding to the American soldiers and the Jordanian soldiers as well.
"I participated in the legal symposium with the American side, and it was a great chance to deal with the American experience in the field of armed conflicts and the role of legal advisers, which added to me and my colleagues from the Jordanian directorate of military justice more knowledge," said Jordan Armed Forces Lt. Col. Mowaffaq Al-Masaeed.
During the exchange Al-Masaeed gave a lecture titled Terrorism Crimes in Jordanian Legislation.
"I also had the opportunity to present the great efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in countering terrorism, and we are looking forward to further cooperation between the two friendly sides," said Al-Masaeed.
A review of real-world, practical examples following the presentations allowed the attorneys to delve into the intricacies of advising commanders on these crucial issues.
"Events like these help pave the way for closer cooperation in an operational environment, especially in regards to the laws of armed conflict," said Zieba. "We look forward to further exchanges which will only strengthen the ties between U.S. Army judge advocates and Jordan Armed Forces judges."
This was one of several similar type of engagements planned by Task Force Spartan judge advocates throughout the Middle East in the upcoming months.
Task Force Spartan maintains a U.S. military posture in southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen defense relationships, build partner capacity and deter regional aggression.
More than 600 Soldiers of the Indiana National Guard's 38th Infantry Division serve in the Middle East supporting the task force and providing leadership, command, control and in-depth staff analysis for Operation Spartan Shield.
Other 38th ID Soldiers who participated in the legal exchange were Maj. Ben Strahm, of Indianapolis and a Cooley School of Law graduate; Capt. Nicholas Wallace of Fort Wayne and a Cooley School of Law graduate; Capt. Kevin Sitler, of Indianapolis and an Indiana University - McKinney School of Law graduate; Capt. Alex Whitted, of Columbus and an Indiana University - McKinney School of Law graduate, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Albert Walgreen of Indianapolis.