Registration Opens for Georgian Military Reserve

On August 1, Defense Minister Levan Izoria discussed the transformation process the Georgian Armed Forces is undergoing during his opening remarks at Noble Partner 2018, NATO-led war games held this month in Georgia.

“Successful implementation of the Georgian Defense Readiness Program (GDRP) is underway,” said Izoria. The GDRP includes logistics transformation, establishment of a reserve and mobilization system within the total defense strategy, formation of brigades as combat groups, introduction of Mission Command approaches, and integration of mountain, naval, cyber defense and strategic communications components in the combined exercises of the Georgian Armed Forces.

Izoria explained that the major goal of GDRP is to develop “modern, combat capable and NATO interoperable armed forces,” which will fulfill national defense objectives while fully contributing to international security.

One aspect of the program, the establishment of a reserve service, is now coming into force in the form of a pilot program. Active plans to initiate a reserve force were announced in April 2017, when the Defense Ministry submitted a draft law to Parliament for the establishment of a reserve force.

Former President Mikheil Saakashvili attempted to create a reserve force nearly a decade ago, without success. Military journalist Irakli Aladashvili calculated the cost of those attempts at 30 million GEL (over $12 million).

The Defense Ministry has announced that the new “active reserve” will begin accepting applications from the public next month for its pilot program. Service in the reserve will be voluntary and open to both men and women between the ages of 18-50 who meet physical fitness requirements.

The long-term proposal includes three categories of reservists – demobilized contract servicemembers, territorial reservists, and specialists. The pilot program will be only for the second two categories. The territorial reserve is based on the concept of the current National Guard, in which reservists deploy as-needed to their home districts. Specialists will be civilians with technical expertise, such as engineers and technology experts, available on call.

The pilot program is open to residents of three selected Georgian provinces — Guria, Adjara and Kakheti. Successful candidates will be able to register for five-year contracts which include 45 days a year of combat training and annual compensation of 2,760 GEL ($1,065). Reservists are able to stay employed in their civilian jobs. Service in the reserves will also qualify as national armed forces service for those required to serve (men between the ages of 18-27 not enrolled in education or otherwise exempt).

By Samantha Guthrie

Photo: Ministry of Defense

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