The United States and Lebanon share the goal of building the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF) capacity as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon’s sovereignty. Lebanon’s state security institutions, particularly the LAF, have historically served as pillars of stability in a country facing extraordinary challenges.
U.S. assistance for the LAF is a key component of our policy to reinforce Lebanon’s sovereignty and secure its borders, counter internal threats, and build up its legitimate state institutions. Additionally, U.S. security assistance supports implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1701, and promotes the LAF’s ability to extend full governmental control throughout the country in conjunction with the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
- The United States is Lebanon’s top security partner and, since 2006, our more than $1.7 billion investment in the LAF has paid significant dividends for U.S. interests in the Middle East. Over the last 12 months, the LAF has defeated ISIS in Lebanon, reasserted control over Lebanese territory along its border with Syria, and increased its presence in southern Lebanon in support of UNIFIL.
- In FY 2017, the United States provided over $235 million in combined Department of State and Department of Defense (DoD) security assistance. This includes $121 million in Foreign Military Financing and $2.75 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) and $112 million in DoD-authorized funding.
- Since 2006, Lebanon has received $25 million in IMET support, which has funded U.S.-instructed training for over 946 members of the LAF, including 110 members in CY 2017. IMET provides professional military education and training to military students to increase professionalism, enhance interoperability, and grow lasting military-to-military relationships.
- Since the August 2014 attack in Arsal by ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, the United States has supported the LAF with munitions, weapons, and equipment to help the LAF keep the country’s borders secure and conduct counterterrorism operations. The Departments of State and Defense continue to work closely to support the provision of training and equipment that Lebanon needs, including fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, vehicles, arms, and munitions. We applaud the LAF for its resolve in confronting violent extremists and will support its ongoing efforts as it combats this shared threat and protects the Lebanese people.
- To mitigate the risk of unauthorized transfer or use of U.S. technology and equipment, the United States conducts end-use monitoring (EUM) of its security assistance programs around the world, including in Lebanon. EUM is used to verify the end-use, accountability, and security of defense articles, services, and training provided under Foreign Military Sales and other grant-based assistance programs, from delivery through use to their eventual disposal. In Lebanon, the LAF continues to successfully coordinate with the U.S. government to ensure compliance with all its security requirements and remains a valued partner in the fight against ISIS and other violent extremists.
- Lebanon also receives assistance through Department of Defense authorities, which further bolster partner nation militaries’ counter-terrorism and border-protection capabilities. These authorities include, among others, “Building Partner Capacity” funding and assistance specific to border security operations. Congress has legislated critical State Department coordination, concurrence, and joint planning and development roles in these authorities.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.