DCM White Remarks
2017 Annual IMET Reunion
September 22, 2017
General Shreim, General Rogers, distinguished Lebanese officers, colleagues, and friends, good evening.
It is a pleasure for me to join you here to honor recent IMET graduates, and to celebrate the partnership between the United States Armed Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces.
The IMET program demonstrates the good relations between our two militaries. It also underscores the United States’ commitment to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces’ goal to further strengthen, professionalize, and develop itself as an institution.
Since 2005, the United States has provided training and education to more than 3,000 Lebanese officers. In the last twelve months 285 LAF officers have graduated training in the United States. In fact, the IMET program in Lebanon is the fourth largest IMET program in the world.
LAF alumni typically go far. Many former IMET, FMS Training, Counterterrorism, and Regional Security Studies graduates have ascended to leadership positions, including to the highest levels of LAF leadership. The success of IMET graduates – your success – represents the increasing capability of the Lebanese Army as a whole and your success helps strengthen the bond between our two countries. IMET allows us as partners to build rapport and understanding, and forge life-long personal and professional ties with each other. The U.S. military has learned as much from you as I hope you have from it. We thank you for this opportunity.
While these personal relationships are very important, the United States’ relationship with the Lebanese Army is not about cultivating personalities, but rather about building institutions. Through IMET, the LAF will continue to develop highly professional officers and soldiers who will help enable the LAF to meet its core mission as Lebanon’s sole guarantor of national security. You know better than anyone that the Army’s mission is more important than ever, as the LAF recently demonstrated in Operation DAWN OF THE HILLS.
The United States will continue to support the Lebanese Army as an institution with one – and only one – objective in mind: the strengthening of the Lebanese Army’s capacity to defend Lebanese territory and its borders, as an effective institution accountable to both the state and the people of Lebanon.
Thank you for attending tonight’s function, and please enjoy the rest of your evening.