By Ms. Adriane ElliotAugust 15, 2016
The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command delivered more than $50 million worth of weapons and military equipment to Lebanon to support the Middle East nation's counterterrorism battle on its Syrian border.
A Navy charter carrying 50 Humvees, 40 Howitzers, 15,000 mortars, 300,000 50-caliber rounds, grenade launchers and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles left North Carolina's Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, the largest military terminal in the world, docking at the Port of Beirut Aug. 8.
"The Lebanese armed forces are critical counterterrorism partners in the fight against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The ammunition, Humvees and grenade launchers will be used on a daily basis against terrorist targets," USASAC Country Program Manager for Lebanon Vanessa Williams said. "And the Howitzers add an immediate and decisive increase in precision firepower.
Williams, formerly a multinational logistics Army Reserve officer, began cutting her teeth in the security assistance enterprise nearly a decade ago. She has served as the Lebanon CPM since 2011 and called the USASAC-Lebanon relationship a true example of a successful foreign military sales partnership.
"These are turbulent times for Lebanon, which is in constant, daily battle along its borders," Williams said.
Another daily battle is the migrant and economic crisis resulting from the mostly agricultural nation hosting nearly a quarter of Syria's 4.5 million refugees.
Williams said the Aug. 8 shipment was just the latest in the United States' pledge of well over $1 billion in assistance for relief, recovery, rebuilding and security since the nation's 2006 war.
The State Department's posture that a peaceful and stable Lebanon can contribute greatly to a peaceful Middle East is supported by USASAC core mission of "building partner capacity, supporting combatant command engagement strategies and strengthening U.S. global partnerships."
USASAC is the Army Materiel Command lead for the security assistance enterprise and accomplishes its mission through foreign military sales. To date, the command boasts a portfolio of more than 5,400 FMS cases like those that made up the recent shipment to Lebanon. Spread out over 153 countries and agencies, USASAC's current program value tallies $173 billion.
While the $50 million delivery to Lebanon was made up largely of FMS cases, part of the materiel and support were funded through U.S. Code 2282. This code gives the secretary of defense, with the concurrence of the secretary of state, authorization to conduct or support programs that "build the capacity of a foreign country's national military forces in order for that country to conduct counterterrorism operations; or participate in or support ongoing allied or coalition military or stability operations that benefit the national security interests of the United States."
USASAC's New Cumberland-based Central Case Manager Payce Carupella said the shipment is a perfect example of how all the cogs in the security assistance enterprise wheel work successfully and in unison.
"This was no small feat," said Carupella, who led the six-month coordination and execution of the Aug. 8 delivery. "This was the first major shipment of ammo, spare parts and major defense articles to Lebanon in about four years, and it took an enormous team of professionals from throughout the enterprise to make it happen."
The shipment was transported on the Ocean Globe, a vessel of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. Carupella said in addition to personnel from USASAC, Life Cycle Management Commands, Central Command, the State Department, Office of Defense Cooperation, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation, and the Transportation and Surface Deployment and Distribution Commands contributed to mission success.
"When (USASAC Commander Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen) says, 'Trust plus teamwork equals strength in cooperation,' this is what he's talking about," Williams said. "This is how thousands of individuals throughout the security assistance enterprise support foreign partners across the globe, and ultimately the U.S. National Security Strategy."