Joint Chiefs chairman heads to Jordan for security talks

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey is in Jordan to discuss possible U.S. military action in neighboring Syria. 

The four-star general will meet with his Jordanian counterparts and other regional defense chiefs during the two-day summit, focusing on the ongoing "dynamic security environment" in the region, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman. 

"The exchange is designed to increase the collective understanding of the impact of regional conflicts on nations, foster ongoing dialogue and improve security relationships," Defense Department spokeswoman Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson said in a statement to The Hill. 

ADVERTISEMENT
U.S. military and intelligence officials have been working closely with Jordan and neighboring Turkey to ensure Syria's civil war does not spill over into their countries. 

Wilkinson pointed out that Dempsey's visit has been in the works at the Pentagon since June, and was not triggered by recent events in Syria. 

That said, allegations of chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad and Washington's anticipated response will likely dominate the security summit. 

U.S. warships, armed with long-range cruise missiles, are already on station off the coast of Syria ready to conduct surgical strikes against government positions in the country. 

President Obama reportedly discussed Washington's military options in Syria with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande over the weekend. 

Those talks came after an emergency meeting of Obama's national security team on Saturday at the White House. 

While the Pentagon is moving ahead with battle plans for a possible Syrian operation, Dempsey and other military leaders have pushed for caution.

Dempsey on Monday said any U.S. military intervention in Syria "would not be militarily decisive" in ending the civil war, but would draw American forces deeper into the conflict.