Major reforms ahead for Georgia’s Armed Forces

Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli presented her office’s report on defence reforms to the Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee today. Photo from Ministry of Defence., 06 Nov 2015 - 18:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Comprehensive reforms are in the pipeline to modernise and rejuvenate Georgia’s Armed Forces to transform it into an "army of new capabilities”.

Plans for a new defence reserve system, modified conscription and better social conditions for service members were part of the ongoing reforms at the Ministry of Defence, the Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee heard today.

Georgia’s Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli presented the Committee with a report on the ongoing initiatives and plans of her office to improve the capabilities of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) as well as developing educational and social resources for the military.

Khidasheli told the Parliamentary body the goal of the Ministry was to develop an "army of new military capabilities and high combat readiness”. The Ministry would also present a fresh approach to preparing reservists for the GAF and a new structure of mandatory conscription.

The new reserve system will reflect challenges of a "21stcentury reserve force” able to accomplish cyber security tasks and remain efficient in the realm of propaganda wars, the Minister said in her presentation.

Khidasheli’s report to MPs concerned wide-ranging reforms and initiatives at the Defence Ministry. Photo from Ministry of Defence.

The conscription system – currently assigning military-aged men to a one-off year-long service as security guards – will be either scrapped entirely or modified to prepare conscripts for actual combat operations while its duration will be reduced to six months.

Both state and private organisations will also be required to preserve jobs at the workplace for employed conscripts to return to.

We believe that if a young person is drafted for conscription they must undergo the full training course and be able to face challenges facing the country,” Khidasheli said.
This system has always been defective in Georgia, never on par with the Army’s needs. We want to change this. If we maintain the conscription system we say these people should not be drafted for guard service,” Khidasheli told the Committee.

More updates from the Ministry concerned new Master’s degree courses at the National Defence Academy – planned for introduction in 2016 and aimed to prepare personnel for both military and civilian professions – and a legislative project aimed at improving social conditions of the military and their families.

Khidasheli concluded her report to the Committee about the Defence Ministry’s work on providing the GAF with locally produced food and clothing, noting a staged transition program was in place for achieving these goals.