The Parliament endorsed at its first hearing yesterday the country’s new military reserve system, ending nearly a year-long working process on its reform. The respective amendments bill, drafted by the Defense Ministry, will come into force on June 1, 2018.
According to the law, the new military reserve system will have two components: the active reserve and the mobilization component. The active reserve will have three sub-components: armed forces, territorial and specialized reserves.
- The armed forces reserve will be composed of former servicemen and law enforcement officers, and will ensure “immediate involvement of reservists, as well as strengthening and supporting the armed forces;”
- The territorial reserve will be established under the National Guard, and will support the armed forces in their respective territorial units;
- The specialized reserve will be composed of highly skilled professionals, and will help the armed forces in dealing with specific tasks.
The active reserve will be voluntary, with recruits (aged 18-65) enrolled under five-year paid contracts. Active reserve members will be paid monthly in the amount of 20% of the salary of their respective military ranks, and full military salary during service.
The second - the mobilization reserve - will be established to support and fill the armed forces during wartime and emergency situations. Service under the mobilization component will be compulsory, and will apply to individuals aged 18-60.
The number of active reserve forces is to be set by the Government of Georgia, while the number of mobilization forces will be defined by the Defense Ministry’s General Staff.
Active reserve forces will be called up by the units of the armed forces they are ascribed to, while the mobilization forces will be called up by municipality authorities (for no more than 45 days annually). For that purpose, a special electronic database will be launched from June 1, 2020.
According to the Defense Ministry, 260 servicemen will be recruited in active reserve forces through a pilot project in 2018. GEL 1.37 million will be allocated for their payrolls, food, equipment and training.
The new military reserve concept is based on the Strategic Defense Review for 2017-2020, and reflects the total defense approach, which according to the document, is defined as defense “on the country’s whole territory, with full national effort, employing both military and civilian resources.”
The law on compulsory military reserve service was first adopted in December 2006. Since then, there have been a number of attempts to redesign it, as the system which was in practice before the August war was admitted to be flawed by the authorities.