In the last few years, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) undertook a major program of reform and rearmament whose strategic outcomes are still uncertain. But the development of efficient and well trained Lebanese Armed Forces still represents one of the main priorities for the achievement of security and state sovereignty in Lebanon.

Aram Nerguizian, a Resident Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, led a discussion on his report entitled The Lebanese Armed Forces: Challenges and Opportunities in Post-Syria Lebanon. The seminar was attended by a number of experts, policy analysts and diplomats, as well as members of the Lebanese military and parliament.

The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and assess the priorities for empowering the LAF, with reference to the data compiled in Nerguizian’s study.

“It is a complex task to establish which priorities should be addressed for the empowerment of the LAF. Both domestic and international donor-led processes are needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the LAF without undermining its image as a positive actor that enjoys broad popular support in Lebanon. Promoting the effectiveness and capacity in the Internal Security Forces (ISF) should also be a priority, even though they lack the popular support that the LAF enjoys,” said Nerguizian.

He added that “the U.S. is increasingly supporting the LAF with financial aid and equipment, hoping that the Lebanese military will continue to be the main stabilizing factor in Lebanon.” Nerguizian noted, however, that “the U.S. has yet to formulate a clear long term aid strategy for the LAF, while the latter should have clearer and more detailed prioritization with regard to its equipment procurement, training needs and strategic planning”.