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Georgia to have 37,000 army staff in 2017

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 20
Georgia’s National Security Council has determined the capacity of Georgia’s Armed Forces for the next year and claimed that the number will be 37,000.

The number of active soldiers is approved by the National Security Council under the President of Georgia annually.

During the meeting, Georgia’s newly-appointed Minister of Defence, Levan Izoria, announced his body's intentions with regards to development of the defence field.

Izoria said three Georgian battalions will undergo special training through the support of Georgia's foreign allies within a program envisaging the full readiness of Georgia’s Armed Forces (GAF) during conflicts and the sustainability of the country’s defensive capabilities.

Izoria highlighted the importance of the Readiness Program of the GAF planned with the United States (US) this July.

The Minister stressed through the support of the US and other allies, Georgia is ready to launch the practical implementation of the program from next year and train three Georgian battalions.

“The program means that the GAF will be ready to prevent any security-related threats and inflict maximal damage to the enemy,” Izoria said.

“We are launching a practical stage for the program next year and millions of GEL will be allocated for this,” Izoria added.

Izoria also said that from October, the Defence Ministry will launch large-scale discussions of the Strategy of Georgia’s Defence Development with the involvement of state bodies, the public, experts and all interested sides.

The Minister announced the plan would cover the following four years and would have five directions.

“We have very close cooperation with our strategic partners, the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). With NATO we have the Substantial Package, which includes thirteen directions to support Georgia’s defence field.

“One of the most important directions of the package is the maximal support of joint training and evaluations which has already launched,” Izoria said.

The Minister stressed that establishing Georgia’s air defence capabilities is one of the Ministry's top priorities.

Izoria said Georgia has already gained consent from France to obtain support in this regard.