Georgia-US Ties for National Defence Strengthen
By Khatia Kardava
Tuesday, February 20
On February 13, Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria presented a report at the Georgian Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee meeting, focusing on the country’s main defense priorities.
According to him, with the support of American partners, "the most ambitious” Georgia Defense Readiness Program's launch is planned for May, which implies creation of a new combat training center in Vaziani, near Tbilisi.
According to the Defense Minister, the program aims at strengthening Georgia’s defensive capabilities through training nine Georgian army battalions by American military instructors. Georgian soldiers will be trained and equipped according to NATO standards.
Within two years (1017-2018), Georgia will receive financial aid worth more than $100 million from the United States to support the military reforms.
The Defense Minister particularly stressed the fact that, unlike the previous training programs, facilitated by Georgia’s foreign partners that aimed at preparing Georgian troops for international missions, the purpose of the training would be to prepare the battalions for territorial defense of their own country. Izoria called this change a “historic fact.”
Izoria also said that in 2018, the armed forces will face serious reforms. In particular, the Ministry of Defense will allocate 23 million GEL from the budget to modernize and upgrade the military aviation. One of the plans is to bring the marine component to the defense program.
According to Levan Izoria, the U.S.- Georgian relations “stand at a qualitatively new level of cooperation.”
“We are working on long-term planning instruments which will be designed for 3-5 years, and this is unique in our relations,” stated Izoria.
It is noteworthy that after 9 years of Georgia’s attempts to purchase anti-tank missile complexes (Javelin), in November 2017, the US government for the first time made a political decision and sold Javelin to Georgia.
The Government of Georgia has requested to purchase four 410 Javelin Missiles, and 72 Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs) includes 2 Javelin Block 1 CLUs to be used as spares), 10 Basic Skills Trainers (BST); up to 70 simulated rounds; U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance; transportation; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is $75 million.
The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of Georgia. The Javelin system will provide Georgia with increased capacity to meet its national defense requirements.
Bilateral relations of Georgia-United States of America
The United States is ally and supporter of Georgia. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the United States has a number of times provided Georgia with political, military, financial and humanitarian aid. Especially is appreciated the strategic partner's support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Strategic relations between the two countries in defense and security were founded nine years ago on 9 January 2009. when in Washington Georgia and the US signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership. The Charter represents a framework for deepening security and defense relations. In the frames of the Charter, working groups also focus on cooperation in the field of economy, energy and education.
A Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Partnership, between the US and Georgian Governments, signed on July 6, 2016, bears special importance and has accordingly elevated the cooperation level. The document entails mobilization of all necessary efforts aimed at enhancing combat readiness of the Armed Forces.
Based on the Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Partnership, a detailed cooperation project for the years 2016-2019 has been adopted. The major element of the multi-year (3 years) bilateral military planning framework is the Georgia Defense Readiness Program which is executed in collaboration with the United States to further develop Georgia’s institutional capacity to generate and sustain military force readiness.
The US assistance in the educational field is also of high importance. In the frames of the International Military Education and Training Program, civilian and military personnel of the Georgian Armed Forces are being trained in the US military institutions.
Georgian Armed Forces has been receiving significant assistance from the US Marine forces in support of Georgia’s participation in the NATO-led missions in Afghanistan.
The US and Georgia regularly conduct joint multinational exercises such as Agile Spirit (since 2011) and Noble Partner (since 2015).