Today, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard joined Internal Security Forces (ISF) Director General Imad Osman, and other ISF officials at the groundbreaking ceremony launching the construction of new facilities at the ISF Academy in Aramoun. The construction of a new dormitory and classroom buildings will provide short-term housing for the ISF trainees from outside of Beirut and additional classrooms to accommodate training from the U.S. sponsored Expanded Police Professionalism (EP2) program. This additional $5 million dollar investment is another demonstration of the strong and continuing U.S. government support for Lebanon and the ISF.
Since 2008, the United States has provided over $278 million dollars to train and equip the ISF through the State Department’s Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
Since 2007, the United States has provided nearly $5 billion in total combined assistance to Lebanon, including more than $1.7 billion in military assistance and more than $3.1 billion in development and humanitarian assistance.
Below are Ambassador Richard’s remarks.
Thank you very much, Director General Osman, Brigadier General Hajjar, dear friends, and colleagues.
I am so happy to be back here at Aramoun, a place that we have gotten to know very well, over the more than ten years that we have worked with the ISF and we’ve watched you grow. Today we are marking another step in the partnership that we have together to professionalize the internal security services and forces here in Lebanon.
The ISF does have a strategic plan and it is an excellent plan, and we reviewed it closely with you and your officers before the Rome conference. We found it to be a superb roadmap for what comes next as you build the force. It is our honor to be part of that strategic plan and today we are looking at just one part of that plan. What we are doing today is helping you expand the great successes we have seen here in Beirut to the entire country. More than 7500 ISF Gendarmerie and municipal police from around the country will be able to live and work and train here.
The Expanded Police Professional (EP2) Program is a big part of this effort. And I think today, what we are doing, in not only talking, as General Hajjar did about the human capital that we are trying to reach, but we are looking at the infrastructure that we need to improve. This is for us a meaningful $5 million contribution to that effort, in creating this infrastructure. These buildings are going to be a modern, purpose-filled facility that is going to allow you deliver first class training and mentoring. I think it will be, little by little, the envy of everyone in this region.
This is a commitment we made at Rome II and I’m very happy that we are able to meet that commitment. I’d like to say one last thing, that it is very easy to focus on equipment and I know it is tempting to want to know, where are the weapons, where are the trucks, where are the vehicles, and where are the airplanes. But the fact is that modern security forces do not thrive and succeed based on their equipment. They thrive and succeed based on their human capital. They thrive and succeed on leadership and training, and discipline, and dedication. That’s what builds the security force of the future and that is what we are helping to build today. Without the training, without the dedication of the teachers, the mentors, and the instructors, you do not have a security force no matter what equipment you have.
So I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this today. Thank you so much to both officers for your leadership and all our fellow officers for their dedication and I very much hope you will invite me back to see the completed buildings. Thank you.