Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 13

Georgia’s Defense Ministry has, for the first time, appointed military attaches both in Washington and at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Both appointees are young lieutenant-colonels. The attache at NATO, Davit Nairashvili, is the son of a Georgian general who was killed in action during the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia. The attache in Washington, Archil Tsintsadze, volunteered for service in Abkhazia during that war and embraced his military career afterward.

The posting of military attaches is generally considered an important early step in the development of military cooperation. Accompanying Tbilisi’s decision came the announcement that Georgia would participate next year in three military drills under NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, two of them in the Balkans and one in Georgia (Kavkazia-Press, Prime-News, Itar-Tass, January 17, 19).

A Georgian unit has become a regular feature of the U.S.-led CentrasBat exercise in Central Asia. Meanwhile, the United States and other NATO countries are equipping Georgia’s border troops and coastal guard. The cumulative effect of these steps in the medium term is to reduce Georgia’s vulnerability to Russian military pressure, even as Russian troops remain stationed in the country without a legal basis.