The United States should craft with its NATO allies “a comprehensive and transparent” approach to security assistance and military sales to Georgia, according to recommendations laid out by a senior Republican Senator Richard Lugar.
A report by Senator Lugar’s staff from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released on December 22, warns that Georgia, which faces difficulties in procuring arms, “lacks basic capacity for territorial defense” leaving the U.S. and its NATO allies in “a tenuous situation.”
“Even the United States, under substantial Russian diplomatic pressure, has paused the transfer of lethal military articles to Georgia,” according to the report, drafted following series of meetings by Sen. Lugar’s staff with senior Georgian and U.S. security officials in Tbilisi and Washington.
The focus of the U.S. current assistance to Georgia’s armed forces is on intellectual issues like doctrine and personnel management, as well as training of Georgian troops for deployment in Afghanistan.
“While Georgian defense officials have requested information on the availability and prices for anti-tank and air defense articles, they have been told that those sales will not go forward at this time,” the report reads.
According to the report, Georgian officials argue that the country is in fact “under a de facto arms embargo” having “great difficulty procuring any lethal defense items.”
Although some radar stations have been reinstalled after the August war, the report says that these radars are designed for civilian use and are “ill-suited for early warning.”
“Hence, Georgia reportedly still cannot monitor all of its airspace, and even the airspace that is covered by radar lacks early warning capabilities,” it says.
Through the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE) assistance program the U.S. has helped the Georgian Coast Guard to build maritime radar stations in five locations to monitor maritime activities.
“The stations allow monitoring of the full coast from Turkey to Russia,” according to the report.
“The Alliance must come to grips with the reality that Georgia will require coordinated security support from America and European nations for some years to come,” Sen. Lugar says in a letter accompanying the report.
The report also recommends the U.S. administration to work towards facilitating a non-aggression pact between Georgia and Russia.