Georgia to prepare new combat reserve10.09.2009 | 14:51
Nearly 10 thousand ex Georgian militaries will be summoned to annual drills as stipulated by the new Department of National Guard project. After the reservists' debacle in last year's war Georgia refused to engage them in military service. However now a new concept aimed at reanimation of the reserve is in preparation. Giya Melitauri, a war expert, expressed his opinion on the subject.
The first parliamentary session after summer vacations was dedicated to the new concept of reserve force. Nearly 10 thousand ex servicemen are supposed to be drafted as recently stated by deputy chairman of parliamentary defense and security committee Zaza Gelashvili, InterpressNews reports.
Now the concepts of reserve force and national security are under elaboration. But as Gelashvili says at this stage the guard's department made up a new project stipulating mobilization of men who left the Defense Ministry and other power departments over the past five years. They will have to take annual 45-day exercises combined with ideological training. Gelashvili emphasized this would help people to preserve the skills they had acquired at the time of military service.
These people will be on the reserve list for three years and be paid for their service. According to Zaza Gelashvili's information the remuneration will be equal to a corporal's salary - nearly 700 lari. Besides the draft to reserve will be obligatory for ex servicemen in compliance with the contract signed at the beginning of military service.
It has not been decided yet whether the reservists will be summoned up with the help of local authorities or an ad-hoc mobilization services will be established.
In an interview with GeorgiTimes Giya Melitauri, a war expert stated that new changes can't be called a reform. "It's just cosmetic changes that essentially alter nothing", he said. He says the current initiative is meant to create a visibility that the defense ministry's new leadership is working. "But in fact it's just self-promotion", - Malitauri is sure. In his opinion there is no efficient concept of reserve force in Georgia yet.
Earlier in July Head of National Guard Department Zurab Arsoshvili promised the new concept would include recommendations of Western partners and NATO. The number of reservists and training bases will be reduced while the level of education will be improved.
It will be remembered that President Mikheil Saakashvili provided for training of dozens of thousands reservists. Two thousand were summoned up in August 2008 to take part in the war. Eleven reservists were killed during the hostilities. On the whole the war in South Ossetia showed that the reserve training program was not efficient.
As early as in January 2009 Georgian media reported that Georgia had foregone reserve force obligatory for all men aged 18-40 as set forth in the law validated in March 2007. The first reserve draft was applied to students of Georgian higher education institutions that only started their military training. As Rosbalt reported three types of reserve service were stipulated: an active reserve (regular trainings aimed at preservation of high level of combat readiness); National Guard reserve (participation in operations involving armed forces at the time of hostilities and liquidation of consequences of emergencies) and the so-called individual reserve meant for rotation and inclusion in active armed forces.
As the newspapers wrote creation of military units out of civilians was not connected only with the threat of a new war in Georgia but also with the Georgian army's transition to the contractual basis. This led to a drastic drop in the number of people discharged to the reserve and consequently those subject to draft. President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili promised then: "We will teach all young men how to handle guns and be sturdy". Already in 2007 he was preparing his people for the levy in mass asserting that it was aimed at defense, not aggression.
In practice things went a different way. But Georgians (especially not liable for military service) didn't want to make war with the Russian army that rose to defend the Ossetians. Even the professional army didn't want to shed blood of the brotherly orthodox nation. Forced to peace it was quick to retreat.