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Diplomacy in Action

Internal Security Forces (ISF) Graduation Ceremony

David T. Johnson
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Keynote Address
Beirut, Lebanon
January 11, 2010


Good morning. Director General Rifi, General Soussi, officers and members of the Command Staff of the Internal Security Forces, Lebanese and U.S. instructors and program managers -- and Ambassador Sison. I am pleased to be here today at the graduation of the 21 Lieutenants who have completed community policing training and the 12th and 13th classes of the U.S. Lebanese Police Training Program. I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the graduating class of ISF officers assembled here today.

It is an honor to join you, in the beautiful city of Beirut, on such an auspicious occasion. The Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, known as INL, is proud to partner with the Lebanese Government, and specifically with the Ministry of Interior, in this vital initiative to train the next generation of Internal Security Forces officers. Our objective is clear: to support the development of professional institutions under the Ministry of Interior which can provide security and vital services to the Lebanese people. This graduation celebrates the completion of training for 21 Community Policing trainers and 294 ISF officers, and is a key milestone for this program. These officers join the 2,907 officers who have graduated since this program’s inception in January 2008. These graduates have fulfilled their training requirements, which for the cadets, included 10 weeks of training in democratic policing from both American and Lebanese instructors, and are now ready to begin their careers as professional law enforcement officers. The graduates of the Community Policing training program completed eight weeks of policing, leadership, and instructor skills followed by four weeks of intense community policing training at the Southern Police Institute in Kentucky. Their work will benefit Lebanon and advance our shared interests of fighting crime and terrorism, and facilitating peace, democracy and a growing Lebanese economy.

To all these officers I offer my congratulations and my best wishes. You are entering an ISF which has made incredible gains over the past years under the leadership of Minister Baroud and Director General Rifi. The performance of the ISF in providing security and safety for all of Lebanon is noteworthy and important. I look forward to your continuing successes, from security to investigations, and from traffic control to incident response time. We in Washington value the strength and effectiveness of our partnership with Ministry of Interior and the ISF. We believe our assistance, in the form of training and equipment, has been vital in supporting the efforts of the Government of Lebanon in building the capacity of the ISF. But the true credit goes to your leadership and to yourselves. The eagerness and commitment that you, as a class, brought to training every day ensured success. I thank you, the academy leadership, and instructors for the success that we celebrate today.

I would also like to take a minute to thank the American instructors assembled here. You are serving in a very important mission and are performing admirably. Thank you for your service. I would also like to point out that our instructors teach in teams comprised of both American and Lebanese instructors, bringing the best of both perspectives on policing to this academy. I thank the Lebanese instructors here that will, in the near future, take over the essential function of training future generations of Lebanese law enforcement.

Graduates, you will become the face of the ISF in the communities in which you serve. By using the skills you have learned in this academy in the performance of your duties you will show the Lebanese public that the ISF is a capable, trustworthy and representative institution.

In closing, it is an honor to be here in front of these classes of ISF officers. I am very proud that INL played a supportive role in the path that brought each of you here today. Congratulations.

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