Building of a new system of Georgia’s reserve troops will be “oriented on quality, instead of its size” and the target on the first stage will be having of 3,000 well-trained, I Class Reservists in four years, according to the National Guard’s concept paper released on October 13.
Under the current system, which after the August war has been acknowledged by the authorities as flawed, service in the reserve troops is compulsory envisaging 18-day training courses once in a year.
“Analysis of the available capabilities and identifying shortcomings are necessary,” the document laying out National Guard’s vision says. “Hence, creation of new system of reserve troops has become required, which will be oriented towards actually existing resources, quality, efficiency and not on the reserve troops’ size.”
The Defense Ministry announced in March, 2007 that the plan was to train 20,000 reservists annually in order to have 100,000-strong reserve troops by 2012. And President Saakashvili said on April 2, 2007: “Today Georgia is ready to have at least a 100,000-strong, well-equipped and well-trained reserve army.”
Total of 28,000 people underwent reserve troops’ training courses in 2007-2008, according to the National Guard. According to the Defense Ministry 8,000 reservists underwent training in 2006.
The new proposal, which is offered to be enforced from 2010 (the parliament should pass number of legislative amendments before the proposal goes into force), envisages dividing the reserve troops’ system into compulsory and voluntary services.
All the former army personnel, both female and male, under the age of 45 will be eligible for the compulsory service in the reserve troops. Each citizen after the age of 27, including those who have served in the reserve troops in 2007-2008, can apply for voluntary service, according to the proposal.
After enrolling in the reserve troops, a person will sign a four-year contract, according to which the person will undergo 45-day training course once in a year; in addition they may be summoned for five more days per year if required.
After accomplishing the four-year courses a reservist will join the ranks of, as the paper puts it, “I Class Reservists”.
“At this stage number of I Class Reservists should be relatively small – about 3,000,” according to the document.
Reserve forces will receive call for duty in the event of war to take part in “support operations” or in case of natural disaster.
The document, which Commander of National Guard and former ruling party lawmaker, Zurab Arsoshvili, discussed with a group of military analysts and civil society representatives on October 13, also offers some structural reform of the National Guard itself.
Number of National Guard’s bases will go down from current six to three in Senaki, western Georgia; Telavi, eastern Georgia and in Tbilisi, where the headquarters is located. The National Guard will consist of its “permanent personnel” and of the reserve troops.
According to the proposal, for the efficient operation the National Guard should establish its branches in the provinces. Among the tasks of regional branches the document lists: “analysis and description of real numbers, mood and opinion of the population” in the given province.
Other tasks of the regional branches will also include: inventory of facilities having importance for self-defense and development of civilians’ evacuation plan in cooperation with the local self-governance bodies.