By Carlo Muñoz and Geneva Sands - 10/10/12 03:57 PM EDT
Panetta said the United States was helping Jordan "develop their own military and operational capabilities in the event of any contingency there."
Aside from humanitarian assistance efforts, the task force is also intended as a stopgap should Syrian President Bashar Assad lose control of his vast chemical and biological weapon stockpiles, the Times reports.
The task force is already on the ground carrying out those near-term operations with assistance from Amman.
Read more on the U.S. military's task force in Jordan on The Hill's DEFCON blog.