Georgia redesigns reserve troops
Georgia will have approximately 70,000 trained volunteer reservists in summer of this year, while the number will reach 150,000 next year, according to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The goal, he said, is to make Georgia’s self-defense system stronger.
“[In] each of Georgia’s villages we will train locals, and this will represent one of the main “guarantees of peace,” Saakashvili said while visiting a state-run factory in Tbilisi named Delta, a part of the Defense Ministry’s research center on April 11.
“In 2008 we all saw clearly that we need [a strong] territorial defense; nobody will do our job for us,” Saakashvili said. The August war, he noted, provided a “good lesson” so Georgia rejected the pre-war system of reserve troops, which was based on size. The new system, he explained, prioritizes quality over quantity.
“Now the focus is placed on quality. Active reserves, those people which have at least minimal military experience, will be used first and foremost and the rest will be built on this bulk,” Saakashvili stated.
Georgian army officers now are meeting with locals in the villages, calling on them to enroll into the reserve troops to form local units, which will be used in case of an emergency or for self-defense in the event of aggression. Such meetings were held in the Samegrelo region, in the west part of Georgia and as well in Kakheti, Georgia’s eastern region.
After the war, the government worked out several plans to redesign the reserve troops, and finally in 2012, parliament amended the law on reserve service, according to which a person over age of 18 will have the right to voluntarily enroll for the reserve service.
The new reserve system is divided into two structures: Land Force Reserve and Territorial Defense Reserve. According to Tabula, a local weekly magazine, the new system will train reservists in risk management and peace keeping.
“One of the main goals is to get maximum results with the minimum financing and time,” Tabula cited Batu Kutelia, Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia, as saying. “For instance, the Territorial Reserve will be completed with the concrete locals living in the area, and the advantage is that the locals know the area very well and if needed, great quantities of money and time will not be spent for mobilization.”
By Ia Natsvlishvili