A U.S. Army headquarters element will be deployed to Jordan to, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel put it, "prepare for a number of scenarios" and help the country defend its border with Syria.
Hagel told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he ordered the deployment last week. But he added that U.S. military intervention in Syria's civil war should be an option of last resort:
“The best outcome for Syria -- and the region -- is a negotiated, political transition.”
However, Hagel told the panel, if Syrian president President Bashar al-Assad crosses the red line painted by Obama, things could change:
“President Obama has made clear that if Assad and those under his command use chemical weapons, or fail to meet their obligations to secure them, there will be consequences, and they will be held accountable. The Department of Defense has plans in place to respond to the full range of chemical weapons scenarios.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also testified before the committee, and seconded Hagel's hesitation in using U.S. military force in Syria:
“[B]efore we take action, we have to be prepared for what comes next.The use of force, especially in circumstances where ethnic and religious factors dominate, is unlikely to produce predictable outcomes. … Unintended consequences are the rule with military interventions of this sort.”