At the end of 2005, Lieutenant General Keith W. Dayton was named United States Security Coordinator (USSC) for the Palestinian Authority and posted in Jerusalem. His mission is “the transformation and professionalization of the Palestinian security forces,” the enhancement of law and order and the improvement of security for Palestinians and Israelis. After Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007, the focus of Dayton’s mission shifted to assisting the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to rebuild its forces in the West Bank.
The USSC oversees a program for training the National Security Forces (NSF), which serves as the military civil police, and the Presidential Guard, an elite force established to protect top officials and guests. The goal of the program is to have an NSF battalion based in each of the eight West Bank cities. In addition to the training and development of Palestinian security forces, the USSC assists in facilitating coordination between the new Palestinian forces and Israeli defense officials.
The efforts of the USSC are parallel to and coordinated with the European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUCOPPS) program, which handles the training of the police forces, the largest component of the security forces.
In July 2007, the U.S. Congress approved $86 million for the training of Palestinian security personnel; some of the funding has been spent on personal gear and protective equipment, but none has gone to lethal weapons. Between October and September 2008, an additional $75 million was allocated for senior leadership courses, infrastructure and training in Jordan. The next phase of the security plan is underway—the training of security personnel under Palestinian command in Palestinian territory.
National Security Forces
• Currently, approximately 1,600 NSF personnel have completed training in Jordan and and 500 are in training.
• Security forces not trained under General Dayton’s program were deployed in Nablus in November 2007 and in Bethlehem in December.
• In May 2008 NSF forces were deployed in Jenin as the first part of a plan to install newly trained NSF in the West Bank.
• In September 2008, the second group of NSF, made up of 500 members, began U.S.- training in Jordan.
• A contingent of 550 Palestinian policemen and officers, some trained by the USCC, was deployed in Hebron in October 2008.
• Palestinian security forces, including NSF and Palestinian police, are actively deployed in: Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem and parts of Hebron.
• The Presidential Guard has 1,800 members.
• As of December, two to three battalions were deployed. One battalion did a refresher course in Jordan.
• On March 15, 2009, a new $10.1 million Presidential Guard training center opened in Jericho. It has the capacity to train 700 officers.
Other Coordination and Training
• USSC supported the establishment of a Strategic Planning Department within the Interior Ministry in Ramallah to enhance coordination and reduce overlap among the Palestinian Authority security forces.
• General Dayton established training courses for senior Palestinian security personnel to teach effective coordination between branches. The first class of 36 majors, lieutenant- colonels and colonels graduated in December 2008.
• A new National Security Force operations camp is scheduled to open in the near future in Jericho.