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U.S. Gen. on Georgia Army Assistance
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Feb.'09 / 15:40

The U.S. Department of Defense through its European Command is looking into ways on how to help the Georgian army, Gen. Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, said on February 17.

Asked if there was a plan to start training of the Georgian military, Gen. Ham responded: “There's not a timeline to it. European Command is still working, again, with the department on the results of the assessment that was concluded last fall as to, again, what's the right way ahead.”

Some of the areas in which the U.S. can help, he said, was tactical.

“It's weapons and equipment proficiency – you know, trucks and radios and first aid training and those kinds of things – just basic military skills, if we can help in some regard in that capacity,” he said. “Secondly, as in command and control, the Georgians have asked for some help in that regard. So European Command is working with the Department [of Defense] on what's the best way to proceed in that regard.”

“There are shortfalls in equipment. There are shortfalls in command and control. There are shortfalls in tactical capability,” Gen. Ham continued. “I think the Georgians recognize that.”   
 
“But they're still not bad. But it's also important to remember that the training that we've provided to them in years past was specifically to help them with an expeditionary capability to conduct operations principally in Iraq. And they did a very, very good job with that. They were not trained for territorial defense.”

In this context, he said that assessment on how to change the “doctrine, our tactics to account for a changed mission” was underway.

Gen. Ham also said that he had recently visited Georgia and was “impressed.”

“They have good training facilities. They're building the personnel infrastructure and programs that they need to recruit and retain the right kinds of folks. They're desirous of help and assistance. And if there's ways that we can help them, I think European Command will work their way through them,” he said.

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