8 Feb 2019 - 19:07
Georgia will host the largest yet edition of the Agile Spirit multinational defence drills with over 3,000 service members from NATO member states and partner countries this summer.
Troops and exercise staff will join forces at training grounds in the country between 27 July-9 August, after planners agreed principal questions for this year’s manoeuvres at a week-long planning conference in Tbilisi.
The exercise will be led by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the United States European Command and serve to improve defence capability of Georgian defence forces and their interoperability with NATO and partnering states.
The manoeuvres are also seen as a means to develop multinational, regional and joint “partnership capabilities” and strengthen Black See regional security, the defence ministry said in their announcement.
Further details of the drills, including military hardware and equipment to be used, will be agreed in the final planning meeting in the country in May.
Novel additions could include amphibious manoeuvres and cyber defence elements, with defence minister Levan Izoria indicating last year the new approaches would be part of the 2019 Agile Spirit.
The most recent drills in 2018 — held in Georgia’s west for the first time — involved 10 participant nations.
Service members from Georgia, the US, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Greece, Ukraine, Turkey, Czech Republic and Estonia came together to improve cooperation in various tasks in the field.
Agile Spirit has increased in scope and numbers since it was first held in 2011. The exercise is one of two multinational drills held in Georgia annually, with Noble Partner being the other.