On March 9, 2017, the Regional Security Office (RSO) at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, supported the Department of State’s delivery of nearly $1 million worth of equipment to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), the country’s law enforcement and security services. The provisions were provided through the Diplomatic Security’s Office of Antiterrorism Assistance. The support also included five courses of training to build the capacity of the ISF.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, the equipment was “much needed” and demonstrates “America’s partnership with Lebanon in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”
The RSO manages all aspects of the ATA program in country, from working with the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism to developing and executing the country implementation plan. In this case, the RSO worked with the ISF leadership to determine the courses and applicable units for the training and equipment based on the department’s and ISF’s priorities.
The ATA program was created more than 30 years ago in the midst of escalating terrorist attacks around the world. The legislation authorized the U.S. president to provide assistance to foreign countries to deter terrorists by providing training, commodities, and equipment to help detect, deter, and prevent acts of terrorism. Delivering equipment to Lebanon through the ATA program is fitting, given that the program expanded after the 1983 terrorist bombings in Beirut.