Georgian troops eager to join NATO Response Force

Georgian soldiers underwent their final national trial at the Norio military base today. Photo from Ministry of Defence of Georgia., 02 Dec 2015 - 19:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

A second Georgian military unit has moved one step closer to becoming part of an elite NATO rapid reaction force, tasked to respond to security threats to the Alliance’s member states at a moment’s notice.

The 3rd Company, 12th Battalion, I Infantry Brigade was approved to take part in the NATO Response Force (NRF) after completing a three-month intensive preparation program. The group completed its final exercise at the Norio military base today, located 10km northeast of capital Tbilisi.

Completion of the exercise allowed the troops to continue towards inclusion in the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2018.

Under the watchful eye of three NATO officers and a national assessment group, today’s final exercise saw Georgian soldiers stage a cordon and search operation – an action of sealing off an area before looking for weapons or hostile combatants within the enclosed territory.

The Georgian Armed Forces 3rd Company carried out tasks within a mock military operation for the trial. Photo from the Ministry of Defence of Georgia.

In addition to carrying out combined work of maintaining security of an area and assaulting a designated target, the soldiers also staged a simulated casualty evacuation – all while utilising United States-made armoured combat vehicles and a UH-1H Iroquishelicopter.

At the end of the exercise the Company’s trial results were presented to Georgian Armed Forces General Staff Lieutenant Colonel Giorgi Phavlenishvili who represented the Combat Training Section of the Staff’s J-7 Department.

Looking ahead, the Georgian unit must now complete testing by a NATO assessment team to move ahead towards NRF qualification.

Successful qualification through this next stage will see the Company become the second Georgian unit accepted into the Alliance’s rapid reaction force; following in the footsteps of the Georgian Armed Forces 1st Company, 12th Battalion, I Infantry Brigade, which joined the NRF in January 2015.

Established by the Alliance in 2003, the NRF was expanded earlier this year amid security concerns on the background of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

Georgia is one of the four non-NATO contributing states to the NRF, with Finland, Sweden and Ukraine also part of the military cooperation.