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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 217-02
April 29, 2002

GEORGIA "TRAIN AND EQUIP" PROGRAM BEGINS

The Department of Defense today announced the beginning of the Georgia Train and Equip program (GTEP).

This program implements President Bush's decision to respond to Government of Georgia's request for assistance to enhance its counter-terrorism capabilities and address the situation in the Pankisi Gorge. This effort will complement other counter-terrorism efforts around the globe and will increase stability in the Caucasus.

A flexible, time-phased training initiative, GTEP builds upon the strong military-to-military relationship developed between the two countries since the end of the Cold War, and further underscores U.S. support for Georgia's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Selected members of SOCEUR will conduct the GTEP. A SOCEUR site survey team of approximately 20 people departed for Georgia today to coordinate GTEP logistical requirements. Included in the team are logistics, contracting, and communications personnel. Once this groundwork is accomplished, the main body of instructors will arrive, and the initial program of instruction will begin shortly thereafter.

The initial program will consist of command center staff training for members of the Georgian Ministry of Defense as well as staff training for units of the Land Forces Command. Border Guards and other Georgian security agencies will be included to ensure interoperability among Georgia's security forces. The program's goal is to build strong and effective staff organizations capable of creating and sustaining standardized operating procedures, training plans, operational plans, and a property accounting system. The curriculum will consist of performance-oriented training and practical exercises similar to those taught at the National Defense University, Joint Forces Command, and U.S. Army War College. Staff training is designed to last approximately 70 days and will be conducted in a small group, classroom setting.

In addition to staff training, tactical training will be provided sequentially and will consist of approximately 100 days per unit. The goal of the tactical program is to instruct Georgian battalions in light infantry tactics, to include platoon-level offensive and defensive operations and basic airmobile tactics. The curriculum for the tactics training will include basic individual skills, such as combat lifesaver, radio operator procedures, land navigation, and human rights education. It will also include individual combat skills, such as rifle marksmanship, individual movement techniques, and squad and platoon tactics.

During GTEP, military equipment is slated for transfer to Georgia. Equipment includes uniform items, small arms and ammunition, communications gear, training gear, medical gear, fuel, and construction materiel.

Georgia and the United States remain solid partners dedicated to the promotion of peace and stability in the Caucasus region. We are extremely grateful for Georgia's unequivocal support to the campaign against international terrorism.