The U.S. military has deployed a secret task force to Jordan to help respond to the ongoing violence in Syria. The New York Times reports a contingent of more than 150 planners and other specialists is tasked with helping Jordanian forces handle incoming Syrian refugees, prepare for Syria’s potential loss of control over its chemical weapons, and respond should the turmoil in Syria spread more widely throughout the Middle East. The mission also reportedly has discussed contingency plans to insulate Jordan from the conflict, with talk of a U.S.-backed buffer zone along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. military presence in Jordan comes just as the Jordanian monarchy is facing its largest protests since the start of the “Arab Spring.” On Friday, thousands of Jordanians marched in the capital Amman demanding economic opportunities and democratic reforms.