Thursday, December 18, 2008

Georgia suffers from politicized military culture

Georgia lags in its bid to fix army

by Thom Shanker and C. J. Chivers
IHT/December 18, 2008

The Georgian military, which was routed in August during a brief war with Russia, suffers from widespread mismanagement and unqualified leadership, and is in need of extensive reforms to become a modern fighting force, according to a classified Pentagon assessment conducted this fall.

The assessment, by a team of American military officers that worked quietly in Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, in October and November, offers a clinical view of a politicized military culture and substandard practices in a country lobbying to join NATO while embroiled in two bloody territorial disputes with Russia.

The assessment underscores the difficult choices to be faced by President-elect Barack Obama, whose foreign policy team will be balancing decisions on how to engage Georgia against concerns that commitments to assist its military will further inflame Russia.

The report, portions of which were shown to The New York Times by a person concerned about the poor readiness of Georgia's military, made implicitly clear that after more than a decade of American training and nearly five years of heavy investment by President Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's military remains immature and ill prepared.


Excerpts From Pentagon Report on Georgia's Military here

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