Georgia has special deep, durable, and mutually supportive security cooperation with the U.S. to enhance Georgia’s ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity by improving its self-defence and resilience capabilities.
Development of Georgia-U.S. Bilateral Cooperation
While the United States recognized Georgia’s independence in 1992, cooperation in the defence sector began to strengthen after Georgia became a partner in combating terrorism in September 2001.
In 2002, the United States initiated the Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) which aided Georgia’s security services in combating internal terrorism threats stemming from rebels in the lawless, mountainous border region of the Pankisi Gorge.
In 2005, GTEP evolved into the Georgian Sustainment and Stability Programs (SSOP and SSOP II), which were designed to train and equip the Georgian forces and command staff for peace support operations in Iraq.
Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), by August 2008, 7800 Georgian soldiers had served in Iraq alongside with the U.S. forces.
On January 9, 2009, the U.S.-Georgia relations entered new phase when the Secretary of State and Georgian Foreign Minister signed United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.
In the same period, another key pillar of U.S.-Georgia cooperation emerged which aimed at supporting Georgia’s participation in NATO-led missions. To this end, the Georgia Deployment Program (GDP-ISAF) was established in fall 2009. In 2015, GDP-ISAF was replaced by the GDP-Resolute Support Mission. Georgia was one of the largest non-NATO troop contributors to the Resolute Support Mission. The last remaining Georgian troops withdrew from Afghanistan in June 2021.
Main Cooperation Mechanisms
On July 6, 2016, the Memorandum on Deepening the Defence and Security Partnership was signed. Based on this, on December 6, 2016, Georgia and the U.S. signed a multi-year (3 years) framework agreement on security cooperation for 2016-2019. The document signaled a new level in the U.S.-Georgia defence and security cooperation by improving the bilateral planning processes from short to mid-term and concentrating efforts on developing Georgia’s Defence Forces combat readiness and self-sustaining institutional systems.
On November 21, 2019, the United States and Georgia updated the U.S.-Georgia Security Cooperation Framework (2019-2020) and reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Georgia strategic relationship. The newly-signed document prioritizes bilateral security cooperation focused on Georgian defense readiness and interoperability.
The Georgia Defence Readiness Program (GDRP), the development of the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center/Combat Training Center, and the Georgia Deployment Program have been highlighted as bilateral security cooperation efforts.
The capabilities, institutional reforms, and readiness efforts addressed in the SCF all support different aspects of these programs. Each ultimately contributes to our overarching goal of building self-sustaining combat readiness in Georgia. Our partnership agreement is designed to build in the near term a substantial readiness capability and capacity, and it provides clear direction on which to focus our efforts.
U.S.-Georgia bilateral activities planned in 2020-2022 will ensure Georgia effectively transitions from the role of training recipient to a self-reliant readiness partner able of generating and sustaining readiness required for territorial defence, deter threats, and deploy alongside NATO and other international coalitions.
Georgia Defence Readiness Program (GDRP)
The United States of America (U.S.) is Georgia’s key strategic partner in building self-sustaining combat readiness and strengthened defence institutions.
In May 2018, Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Defence started the execution of the bilateral Georgia Defense Readiness Program, a training/advisory program to improve combat readiness and further develop a self-sustaining institutional capacity to man, train, equip, and sustain a force prepared to accomplish assigned national missions.
GDRP consists of two simultaneous, complementary, program elements – GDRP-Training (GDRP-T), and GDRP-Institutional (GDRP-I).
As a result of GDRP, the GDF is already ready to assume more pre-deployment training functions.
The training component of GDRP ended in August, 2021 and the institutional component is scheduled to end in December, 2021.
The NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) /Combat Training Center Development
In parallel of the GDRP, with the substantial financial and practical support of the U.S. Georgia is developing Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) /Combat Training Center, a world-class training environment, with interconnected training areas and facilities to support the GDF readiness development, facilitate the hosting of large-scale multinational exercises (e.g. Defender-Europe), and offer NATO Allies and partners the opportunity for force-on-force training events in Georgia.
Georgia annually hosts and participates in several U.S.-led exercises. Notably, the two major U.S.-Georgia multinational exercises conducted in Georgia are AGILE SPIRIT and NOBLE PARTNER.
AGILE SPIRIT exercise has been conducted since 2011 to exercise freedom-of-navigation, help develop the Georgian Defence Forces capability and interoperability, and foster development of training capacity in West Georgia.
NOBLE PARTNER exercise has been conducted since 2015 to exercise freedom-of-movement, demonstrate expeditionary capabilities, exercise tasks inherent to Georgian territorial defense, and build combined land force capabilities and interoperability.
State Partnership Program (SPP) and Bilateral Affairs Office (BAO)
State Partnership Program (SPP) with the State of Georgia was one of the first mechanisms providing immense support to the Georgian Defence Forces in terms of education as well as with material means since 1994. The State Partnership Program is not only concentrated on National Guard capability development, but also encompasses assistance in such critical areas as logistics, cyberspace operations, disaster preparedness, legal, medical, inspector general, rotary wing capability development, and family readiness programs. The Georgia National Guard conducts familiarization and training events focused on EUCOM objectives, participates in Georgia’s major exercises, and supports Humanitarian Civil Assistance projects.
Georgian Wounded Warrior and Building Partner Capacity in Amputee Care-Georgia (BAC-G) Program
Another direction of the partnership is in the form of developing capabilities for treating wounded, ill and injured militaries. The Georgian Wounded Warrior and BAC-G program was established to provide an integrated, interdisciplinary rehabilitation program for Georgia’s Wounded Warriors.
In support of the program, mobile training teams provide specialized expertise on a variety of rehabilitative disciplines.
In 2019 Georgia finished constructing a new multifaceted rehabilitation facility which is a regional center of excellence for Wounded Warriors and their family members. This new facility is located on the territory of the Tserovani Maro Makashvili rehabilitation center and serves the wounded military personnel and their family members. This facility is funded with the support of U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF).
NATO Response Force
In 2013, the U.S. and Georgia mutually agreed to enhance Georgia’s ongoing efforts at NATO interoperability. Since then the U.S. has been sponsoring Georgia’s infantry company contribution to NRF.
Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP)
The U.S. provides the Co-Deputy Team leader of the SNGP Core Team, via the Ministry of Defence Advisory Program, who is responsible for overall coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the SNGP initiatives.
In addition, the U.S. was the lead Nation for the Logistics Initiative under SNGP which was successfully accomplished and closed in December 2020.
International Military Education and Training (IMET):
The international Military Education and Training program supports the process of retraining military and civilian personnel of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. The program embodies high level as well as intermediate and beginner level preparatory courses for commissioned officers and sergeants.
Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CFTP):
Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program annually sponsors high level courses both at the U.S. National Defence University and National War College, as well as short term courses specifically offered to the Special Operations Forces’ personnel.
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies:
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies annually offers slots for the Georgian MOD representatives to participate in security study programs as well as other courses.
U.S. Advisory teams financed though FMF provide valuable assistance to the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and Defence Forces across different areas.
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
Georgia received over $400 million in FMF Since 1997. In 2021, Georgia received $35 million in bilateral FMF funds.
Funds from the Foreign Military Financing are being fully utilized and allocated to train and equipment programs and GDF capability development.