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New Defense Minister Lays Out Priorities
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Jul.'12 / 13:01

Georgia’s defense policy will be built around “the principle of three Ts”, that is Total Care, Total Training and Total Defense, new Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin said in an interview with the Georgian daily, 24 Saati, published on July 10.

Shashkin, who served as minister in charge of prison system in 2009 and as education minister since December, 2009 before being appointed as defense minister last week, said that No Man Gets Behind in Peace and in War “is the Georgian Defense Ministry’s motto from today.”

He said that the first T – Total Care, was about the state taking care of military personnel and their families.

“In about two weeks the ministry will develop a concrete strategy about what we should offer to each and every soldier,” Shashkin said. “It will become known in two weeks what are the obligations that the state is taking before soldiers.”

On second T or Total Training, Shashkin said: “We need as many training as possible in order to speed up integration into NATO structures.”

“Change of ministers does not mean shaking of an institution. Policy, the main goal of which is NATO integration and continuation of cooperation with the American partners, will speed up,” he said.

On third T or Total Defense, Shashkin says that this component is of huge importance in the condition when 20% of Georgia’s territory remains occupied. He said “we are not enemies to anyone” and Georgia’s efforts were focused on self-defense.

He said that development of reserve troops system, based on compulsory and voluntary components, was an important part of Total Defense concept. 

Shashkin also said that the Georgian armed forces would continue to rely on conscription system in parallel to contract-based recruitment. He said that in order to give more incentives for joining the army, the Defense Ministry was working on a new program involving offering university grants to those who would undergo military service.

He said that development of military industry was also an important part of the Total Defense concept. He said that up to 7,000 people were employed in the enterprises ran by the Ministry of Defense. “It means that 7,000 has income, has benefit. This sector will further develop and these families will have more benefit,” Shashkin said, alluding to the authorities’ one of the key election messages “more benefit to people”, which is also a title of a new program of the reshuffled cabinet, led by new PM Vano Merabishvili.

Shashkin also said that taking over Defense Minister’s post “is a huge challenge for me.” “This is a very important sector for our country,” he said. “Because we have a difficult neighbor, defense is a priority of huge importance.”

On July 10 the new Defense Minister met with a group of diplomats and defence attaches of foreign countries accredited to Georgia and briefed them about the priorities, including about the new concept of three Ts, the MoD said in a statement.

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