Brigadier General BG (R) Aref Salim Alzaben graduated from The Royal Military College, Amman, Jordan in 1986. He was assigned as a Platoon Leader to 81st Airborne Battalion at the Royal Jordanian Special Forces Brigade. In 1988 he was assigned as a Special Forces Team Leader at the 101st Special Forces Battalion and he was selected to join the elite Jordanian Counter-Terrorism unit, the 71st Counter Terrorism Battalion. In 1990 he graduated from the Infantry Officers Basic Course # 4–90 and the Ranger Course #10–90 at the US Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia.
From 1990-2004 he was assigned to the 71st Counter-Terrorism Battalion where he served, as Squadron Leader, Amphibious Team Leader, Battalion S2 (Intelligence Officer), Battalion S3 (Operation Officer), Deputy Commander, and Battalion Commander. During his service in 71st Counter-Terrorism Battalion he was assigned in 1993 as the Military Information Officer with the UNPROFOR (United Nation Protection Forces) in the Former Yugoslavia. After serving with the combat troops in Sector West in Croatia, he was selected to serve in UNPROFOR HQ- Croatia as Military Assistance Officer at the Pancevo Air Force Base in Belgrade for three months. In 1995 he attended the PEP (Personnel Exchange Program) with the U.S Special Forces at the USAJFKSWCS (United State Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center School) in Fort Bragg North Carolina as part of Special Warfare Training Group, B Company. He graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course # 5-95 and the Instructor Training Course.
On 16 March 1999, under the directions of His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein, Major Alzaben was assigned as the Commander of 71st Counter–Terrorism Battalion. Major Alzaben commanded the 71st Counter-Terrorism Battalion until 21 August 2002. Upon graduation from the Royal Jordanian Command and Staff College in 2003, he returned to command the 71st Counter-Terrorism Battalion.
In 2004 Lieutenant Colonel Alzaben attended the first Program (PTSS) on Terrorism and Security Studies, Semester 04-8, in the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, where he was selected as a guest speaker for several courses in future Program on Terrorism and Security Studies semesters.
In 2005 Lieutenant Colonel Alzaben attended the (NDU) National Defense University in Washington DC, where he obtained the War College Diploma & the Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies, from the Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program.
From 2005 until 2007 Lieutenant Colonel Alzaben served as J3 (Operations Officer) in the Jordanian Joint Special Operations Command. On 1 February 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Alzaben assumed duties as the Adviser to the Commander of the Yemeni Republican Guard & the Special Forces, Major General Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh (Son of President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen), during the Republic of Yemen war against the Houthi insurgency also known as the Houthi Rebellion, Sa’dah War, or Sa’dah conflict. On 5 November 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Alzaben was promoted to Colonel while he was in his assignment in Yemen.
On 1 December 2008, Colonel Alzaben transferred to the Joint Special Ops Command as a member of the Oversight Strategy Board (OSB) for King Abdullah Special Operation Training Center (KASOTC).
Brigadier General Aref Salim Alzaben Page 1 of 2
On 19 May 2010, during the Grand opening of KASOTC as the center of Excellence, Colonel Alzaben was appointed Chief of Training Directorate for the center.
In 2010, he Commanded Task Force 222/C, in Afghanistan with the ISAF, as part of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, during his command in Afghanistan Colonel Alzaben has awarded the US Meritorious Service Medal from the President of the United States Of America for his Exceptionally Meritorious Service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan with the ISAF. During his command, Colonel Alzaben was responsible for creating and implementing an information operations campaign “Voices of Modern Islam” to win the Hearts and Minds through the support of the local population. To do this, he focused on a religious approach that demonstrated the dangers of the radical interpretation of Islam of insurgents operating in the region. During his command, he reached out to religious scholars and other community leaders to show them a moderate picture of Islam through an initiative designed to highlight the immorality of justifying terrorism in the name of Islam. Colonel Alzaben was awarded the US National Defense University Chancellor’s Award 2010-2011, after completing his master’s Thesis on “Afghanistan and the Voice of Moderate Islam in Winning the Hearts & Minds of the Afghan” from CISA.
On 10 February 2011, Colonel Alzaben became Brigade Commander of King Abdullah II, 37th Royal Special Forces Brigade. After two years and half serving as Special Forces Commander, on the 17 June 2013, Colonel Alzaben was transferred to the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) as Deputy Director General & Military Commandant.
On 27 August 2012, Col Alzaben was awarded the Special Operations Command Medal (USSOCOM) by Admiral William H. McRaven. Previous recipients of the award include General. Schoomaker former (Chief of Staff of the US. Army), Ambassador Ann Patterson (Ambassador to Egypt and former Ambassador to Pakistan), and Dr. Michel Vickers (Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence). On the 5 November 2013, Colonel Alzaben was promoted to Brigadier General and on the 13 April 2014, General Alzaben was assigned as Chief Executive Officer and Military Commandant at KASOTC. On 5 January 2016, General Alzaben relinquished command of KASOTC to continue his professional development and academic studies to earn a Doctoral Degree in Philosophy in Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University UK. (Un-Accomplished). He retired from the Jordanian Armed Forces on 16 May 2016 to focus all his efforts on countering radical extremism through his “Voices of Moderate Islam Program. On 30 November 2016 he Joined Gov- Source, Inc as Senior Adviser for Middle East Affairs.
On 2nd September 2020 he joined Global SOF Foundation as an Advisory Council Member. BG (R) is working with the STATE OF QATAR as a consultant in the Joint Special Forces Command. BG (R) Alzaben has attended and effectively participated in many seminars and symposium on terrorism all over the world. He has lectured on terrorism related matters at many universities and institutions worldwide.
BG (R) Alzaben is married and has one daughter, Ola (18 years old), and two sons, Ala (14 years old) and Abdullah (9 years old)
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