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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE OF GEORGIA INFORMATIONAL - ANALYTICAL SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE #27

Ministry exhibits Air force celebrates


successes, future plans anniversary
The Georgian Air Forces cel- Akhalaia delivered a speech watch simulated flight exercis-
ebrated their seventeenth anni- at the event, stating that “avia- es.
versary in a solemn ceremony at tion represents one of the impor- The Georgian Air Force and
the Alekseevka Military Airbase tant components of the armed Air Defense Division was estab-
Sept. 19. forces. If we look back to the past lished Jan. 1, 1992. On Aug. 10,
Defense Minister Bacho years, we see that our aviation 1993, it was transformed into a
Akhalaia and Chief of Joint Staff units were persistently improv- primary division. The two divi-
of the Georgian Air Forces Maj. ing and increasing their profes- sions were united on Aug. 18,
Gen. Devi Chankotadze congrat- sionalism. Though Georgian avi- 1998 and the joint structure was
ulated military personnel. Mili- ation might not be perfect at the called the Georgian Air Forces.
tary attaches accredited to Geor- present moment and needs fur- The first combat flight was
gia, military servicemen family ther development, we can say for conducted by Izani Tsertsvadze
members and other guests were sure that aviation is a valuable and Valeri Nakofia on Sept. 19,
present at the ceremony. component for the army. This is 1992, which was later named
Akhalaia and Chankotadze why I am here to congratulate the Georgian Air Forces Day.
decorated the memorial to the entire army on this significant The Georgian Air Forces in-
Georgian military with wreaths. occasion.” cludes 2,971 military and civil-
Up to 26 servants were awarded Following the official seg- ian personnel; controls and de-
with the medals of General Kvin- ment of the ceremony, armed fends air space over Georgia;
itadze, General Mazniashvili and forces personnel organized an conducts air intelligence and sur-
Devoted to the Homeland award. exhibition for the guests and mil- veillance; conducts air evacua-
The ministry presented an an- ed to visitors in magazines, itary activities to anyone who is Roughly 75 servicemen were itary attaches, displaying flight tions and search and rescue op-
nual report about its achieve- newspapers and advertisements. interested.” granted honorary diplomas and vehicles and aviation weaponry. erations; and executes the air
ments and plans earlier this The NATO Information Center As commander of the Third 74 notes of appreciation from Toward the end of the event, movement of personnel and mil-
month. As part of the govern- dispersed literature on the alli- Infantry Brigade, Captain Iveri their commanders. guests were given the chance to itary cargo.
mental initiative, a five-hour ex- ance together with free gifts and Subeliani said visitors showed
hibition was held Sept. 5 on booklets. the greatest interest in combat
Rustaveli Avenue, as well as in Prime Minister Nika Gilauri techniques and their characteris-
various regions outside the cap- and Cabinet of Ministers mem- tics.
ital. bers also participated in the “This event was met with
The Defense Ministry pre- event. Defense Minister Bacho immense interest in every Geor-
sented various types of combat Akhalaia and Chief of Joint Staff gian region,” Subeliani said.
and medical equipment em- Major Gen. Devi Chankotadze “The pavilion of ministry re-
ployed by the army. The military answered questions from citi- ceived special attention. We pre-
introduced tactical and technical zens. Akhalaia also spoke with sented new equipment and our
specifications of weaponry. The journalists. personnel provided detailed in-
training facilities of the armed “This exhibition is a vivid formation about armaments of
forces’ Training and Military demonstration of all the signifi- the armed forces.”
Education Command were also cant projects, implemented in The pavilions were displayed
displayed. The exhibition also recent years,” he said. “We also in Rustavi, Telavi, Qutaisi and
included a field hospital, tent for presented a number of measures Zugdidi.
military personnel and kitchen, to be realized in the future, con- President Mikheil Saakash-
where visitors could try the food cerning the modernization of the vili also participated in the pro-
and rations prepared for soldiers army. Our report covers all as- gram, visiting Telavi where he
under field conditions. pects of the working process ex- gave a personal report about re-
Important events ongoing ecuted by the ministry. Our of- cent Georgian military achieve-
within the armed forces and key ficers are also here and can pro- ments and continuing reforms.
defense priorities were present- vide detailed answers about mil- Nino Mikeladze

INSIDE
“The program is a Boland meets with
partnership requiring defense minister
the full involvement
and commitment of Defense Ministry
Georgia to succeed” welcomes U.S.
Interview with David Johnson, Acting
Professional Development Program
deputy assistant
(PDP) Manager
secretary of state
Georgia looks to
establish professional U.S. experts visit
NCO Corps Georgia
2 MONTHLY SUPPLEMENT OF GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE #27

“The program is a partnership requiring the full


involvement and commitment of Georgia to succeed”
Interview with David Johnson, Acting Professional Development Program (PDP) Manager
The effective management of human resourc- send to Georgia to provide training in Defense Ministry staff before launching Q: What methods and approach do
es and enhancing the professional skills of ci- specific functional areas and specialties the program. As for differences, I would you use to achieve the best possible
vilian officials is one of the main priorities of to groups of staff members. This is a say the main one is in the relative size outcome?
the Defense Ministry. Integration policy into very cost-effective means of delivery of the organizations we are dealing with A: The most important element of
NATO requires a rapid reformation process. The and well-suited to certain topics. Then, in Kiev and Tbilisi respectively. our common approach is that the pro-
Professional Development Program launched in there is training that can be provided The Defense Ministry staff in gram is a partnership requiring the full
May 2009 aims to strengthen the capacity of locally by the program team on an on- Ukraine has numbers in the thousands, involvement and commitment of Geor-
democratic management and oversight of Geor- going basis in order to improve staff while here in Tbilisi, it is around 500. gia to succeed. Each level of program
gia’s security sector and support objectives re- capabilities in several generic areas. This has enabled us, so far, to become management and every aspect of the
lated to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Q: What was the main reason to very familiar with the specifics of the training delivered takes account of this
In mid-September, UK Special Defense Ad- launch the PDP in Georgia and what problems the Georgian Defense Minis- important requirement. Hand-in-hand
viser to the Georgian Defense Ministry Stephen can you tell me about the importance try wants to address and to work close- with that guiding principle is the notion
Glover and Acting Program Manager in the of the program for NATO? ly with the staff to find solutions. of transparency and accountability to the
Georgian Defense Ministry David Johnson held A: The participating nations were Q: What about the NATO coun- participating nations who are investing
the next round of seminars for ministry person- willing to support your Ministry’s re- tries; do they use the same kinds of in the program.
nel. The seminars aimed to enhance the profes- quest for establishment of this program programs for professional develop- By those means, we are able to ce-
sional skills of ministry civilian personnel via because, as I said, the kind of assistance ment of their employees? ment the partnership and ensure contin-
courses, training and workshops at the ministry to be provided will strengthen the ca- A: We base our program on the ca- ued support. As for implementation on
and a training center soon to open at the government agency. pacity for democratic management and pabilities and competencies that are a the ground, we try to ensure at each step
oversight of Georgia’s security sector, standard part of the business culture in that the right people get the right train-
Defense Today interviewed David partnership from day one with full par- which is an important principle among NATO and Allied nations. That is not to ing and are subsequently placed to en-
Johnson, who elaborated on the impor- ticipation and support by the Defense NATO nations and partners. say that NATO or any Allied nation has sure maximum benefit to the organiza-
tance of the program and future pros- Ministry. This includes close coopera- At the practical level, the further that achieved perfection in this field – far tion. We also build in feedback at each
pects of its implementation in Georgia. tion with the Defense Ministry Human Georgia progresses in implementing the from it. However, there is an ingrained step to ensure the program’s continuous
Defense Today: What are the goals Resources Department in program im- experience gained through the program, awareness and pursuit of best practice improvement and its flexibility to ad-
and objectives of the NATO-Georgia plementation and with the Internation- the more effective a partner it will be in and professional development is an area dress emerging requirements.
Professional Development Program? al Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integra- the various areas in which it cooperates of ongoing investment. That is why part In the end, the desired outcome is
David Johnson: The overall aim of tion Department from a policy perspec- with NATO, the upcoming Georgian of the program vision is to develop the change within the Defense Ministry –
the NATO-Georgia PDP is to strength- tive. contribution to ISAF being one impor- same awareness and capability to sus- progress in resolving the capability
en the capacity for democratic manage- NATO and Georgia manage the pro- tant example. tain professional development on an in- shortfalls that have been identified. That
ment and oversight of Georgia’s securi- gram together. A program steering com- Q: What impact will this program dependent basis in the Defense Minis- is a much more important measure of
ty sector and support the overall objec- mittee, comprising of representatives of have on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic in- try. success than the inputs: the number of
tives related to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic participating nations and Georgia, pro- tegration? Q: What challenges and obstacles training opportunities provided. So it
integration. The program will do this by vides oversight and guidance from a A: The development of capacity for do you see during the implementation gets back to accountability, in the first
assisting Georgia in enhancing the pro- headquarters policy perspective. In ad-
fessional skills of civilian officials in dition to Georgia, the 10 participating
defense and security institutions. nations are Denmark, Estonia, Latvia,
Participating nations support the Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden,
aims of this program because it works Turkey, the UK and U.S. The UK and
in favor of a basic principle shared the Nordic-Baltic Initiative nations
among Allies and partners realize that (Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
effective democratic management and Norway, Poland, and Sweden) share
oversight of the defense and security lead-nation responsibilities. The NATO
sector is essential for the ability to exer- International Staff Defense Policy and
cise civil and democratic control over Planning Division is the executing agent
security forces. The program takes full responsible for implementation of the
account of Georgia’s Annual National program.
Program and PARP Assessment, and is The critical management element
tailored to address related shortfalls for day-to-day implementation is the
identified under those processes. From program team based here in Tbilisi.
that perspective, an enhanced capabili- This team is made up of a program
ty for the Defense Ministry to carry out manager from an Allied or partner na-
its headquarters functions in support of tion and an assistant (or deputy) pro-
the Georgian armed forces is another gram manager from the Defense Min-
desired outcome of our efforts istry staff. This team works very closely
Q: When was it decided to imple- with the Defense Ministry Human Re-
ment this program in Georgia? How sources Department in the day-to-day
long will it last and how is the pro- program implementation. The program
gram managed by NATO? team and Human Resources Depart-
A: Participating nations agreed in ment work together to ensure the right
May 2009 to implement the program. people get the right training, primarily
The program was first requested by your by running a selection panel to inter-
ministry in August 2008, and was im- view prospective trainees. The UK has UK Special Defense Adviser to the Georgian Defense Ministry Stephen Glover conducts seminar for ministry personnel
plemented after extensive consultations provided important support to the pro-
between NATO and Defense Ministry gram by the appointment of a special democratic management and oversight phase of the program in Georgia? place, on the part of the individuals who
experts and subsequent political discus- defense adviser to the Georgian De- of the security sector and of security A: The program is demanding in receive training to demonstrate how they
sions at NATO. According to the cur- fense Ministry, Stephen Glover. Final- forces is an important step toward Euro- terms of resources: finance, time, skilled have applied the experience. Secondly,
rent program plan, which is a flexible ly, a program board, chaired by Depu- Atlantic integration. personnel and training opportunities. on the part of the organization to dem-
and living document, the program is ty Minister Vashakidze and including Q: Do you have any experience of The most immediate challenge has been onstrate support and adoption of the
currently foreseen to run over three two- representatives from across the Minis- implementing the professional devel- the impact of the global financial crisis. training, experience and best practices
year phases. This does not foreclose the try, the program team and invited ob- opment program with other partner Nations wishing to participate in the pro- delivered through the program.
possibility that the program could con- servers from the joint staff, provides the nations and, if yes, can you tell us the gram are able to do so by contributing Q: What benefits can the partici-
tinue beyond six years. ministry full visibility of the program similarities and differences? cash to the program trust fund or mak- pants in the program gain?
However, the capabilities we are as- and the ability to give guidance on its A: We have been running a PDP with ing contributions-in-kind of training A: From the perspective of the pro-
sisting Georgia in developing are in- daily implementation. Ukraine for almost four years now. I opportunities. gram, the most important benefit to in-
herent in a well-functioning govern- In terms of what is delivered, the pro- think that program inspired the request As I said, we currently have 10 par- dividuals would be an improvement in
mental organization. For that reason, gram currently provides for four main by your Ministry. In order to achieve ticipating nations, but that number their ability to effect positive change in
the vision for the program includes the types of training. First, there are the maximum efficiency, we have modeled would be closer to 15 if not for the im- their areas of responsibility whether that
gradual development within the De- training opportunities abroad, provided the program in Georgia on the one in pact on defense budgets of the financial be in policy development, defense plan-
fense Ministry (and other organizations by contributing nations. These are fo- Ukraine and have drawn heavily on the crisis. Nevertheless, nations fully fund- ning, human resources, budget and fi-
later) of the organizational structures cused on individuals and can be train- experience and lessons learned there. ed our 2009 financial requirements and nance, security or any other functional
and capacities to sustain professional ing slots in language courses and in The management structure and process- gave us a solid start toward 2010. Giv- area. There are several possible bene-
development of the staff on an indepen- courses tailored to specific functional es of the two programs are quite simi- en the number of priority issues vying fits that would naturally flow from this,
dent basis. Should we succeed along areas. Second, there are internships lar. for attention within NATO, it will be an including enhanced professional creden-
those lines, we could expect these func- ranging from a week to several weeks However, we also wanted to avoid a ongoing challenge to maintain focus on tials, chances for advancement and im-
tions of this program to transfer gradu- or months in which a specialist can ob- cookie-cutter approach and ensure the this program. That is where strong po- proved understanding of methods and
ally to the appropriate Defense Minis- tain on-the-job experience at NATO program in Tbilisi was tailored to Geor- litical and practical commitment on the approaches by professional counterparts
try staff elements. In other words, the headquarters or in the capitals of con- gia’s specific needs and circumstances. part of Georgia will be crucial in encour- in NATO.
PDP should work itself out of a job. tributing nations. Third, there are mo- That is part of the reason that we con- aging ongoing support and investment
That is why it has been conducted as a bile training teams, which nations can ducted months of consultations with the by NATO nations and partners. Thea Chonishvili
SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE #27 MONTHLY SUPPLEMENT OF GEORGIA TODAY
3

Georgia looks to establish Boland meets with


defense minister
professional NCO Corps Frank Boland, head of the Force
Planning Directorate at the NATO head-
quarters, paid an official visit to Geor-
The goal of the visit was to evaluate
the accomplishments of the planning and
review process and obligations under the
gia. Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia Defense Ministry’s Annual National
hosted the high-ranking official at min- Plan. In the framework of the visit,
istry. Boland held meetings with Georgia’s
Boland chaired the delegation of the interior, finance and European and Euro-
NATO experts visiting Georgia. Atlantic Integration ministers, security
Since 2003, top NATO officials have council management and EU monitor-
been in charge of the Force Planning ing mission.
Directorate at the Defense Policy and The NATO experts held their final
Planning Department. They take respon- meeting at the Defense Ministry Sept.
sibility for conducting the force planning 10. NATO consultants appreciated the
process, not only in the alliance mem- reforms executed throughout the year by
ber, but also in partner countries. the ministry.

Defense Ministry welcomes


U.S. deputy assistant
secretary of state
In the framework of an introductory Col. Matthew Brand, Political and Eco-
visit, U.S. European and Eurasian Af- nomic Section Chief Julie Fisher
fairs Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Charge d‘Affaires Kent Longsdon.
Tina Kaidanow visited the Defense Min- The key topics of discussion were
istry earlier this month. Defense Minis- continuing ministry reforms, the transfor-
ter Bacho Akhalaia, Deputy Minister mation of the national defense sector and
Nikoloz Vashakidze and International the priorities of the Georgian armed forc-
The Non-Commissioned Officer odology and program is mainly German- Defense Today: The German side
Relations and Euro-Atlantic Integration es. The significance was also stressed of
Corps (NCO) is often referred to as “the based, but tailored to Georgian specif- actively provides assistance to the
Department head Marika Laliashvili Georgia’s participation in ISAF opera-
backbone” of the armed services. NCOs ics and adjusted to the regulations of the Georgian NCO School. What was the
hosted the high-ranking official. tions and its fulfillment of the commit-
are the primary and most visible lead- Georgian armed forces. Students begin main reason to choose namely the
Foreign guests representing the U.S. ments stipulated by the U.S.-Georgia
ers for the bulk of service personnel – with theoretical training and then gain NCO corps?
at the meeting were Defense Attache Charter on Strategic Partnership.
the enlisted officers and military ser- practical experience on the field. Future Bernhard Hopp: Other NATO
vants – as not a single commander has sergeants learn to assemble and disas- countries mainly render assistance to
such close contact with corporals as semble a weapon. They also have a Georgia in terms of the preparation of
NCOs. NCOs are the primary military green season with day and night march- officers’ corps. The German side ex-
leaders responsible for executing the es on various training grounds in Ko- pressed a willingness and readiness to
military organization’s mission and jori, Krtsanisi and Shavnabada. participate in the creation of a NCO
training military personnel. Khvichia said the major goal of the corps. In order to have professional ser-
In the Georgian armed forces, the NCO School is to form a professional geants, it is necessary to provide quali-
preparation of professional NCO is pro- corps equipped with the necessary the- fied training. Thus, the German side
vided by the NCO School founded in oretical knowledge and skills required decided to support the establishment of
2003 in Gori. The school later moved from instructors. the NCO School and its development.
from Gori to the Krtsanisi National Germany has played an important We are working intensively in this di-
Training Center. Since March 1, 2007, role in the development of the NCO rection even today.
the school has been an independent mil- School. In 2006, the German Infantry Q: In which spheres does Germa-
itary educational institution subordinate School of Hammelburg and NCO ny provide assistance to the Georgian
to the Educational Command of the Joint School concluded a partnership agree- armed forces?
Staff. ment to intensify cooperation between A: We assist the NCO School in all
At the first stage, the NCO School the military educational institutions of directions, but namely raising the qual-
only provided training for section com- the two countries. ifications of the personnel in Germany
manders. Today, the functions of the Cooperation between Georgia and and developing curriculum and method-
educational institution have consider- Germany began much earlier. In 1995, ology. Germany also provides material
ably increased. According to the chief over 350 officers and NCOs were assistance to the Georgian armed forc-
of the NCO School, Capt. Zurab Khvi-
chia, the institution is responsible for
trained in Germany. The Georgian
peacekeeping contingent that performed
es. Various vehicles have been trans-
ferred to the Georgian side, such as cars,
U.S. experts visit Georgia
training and retraining section com- the mission in Kosovo and Afghanistan high mobility vehicles and ambulances. High-ranking officials of the U.S. Treddenick, professor of Defense Eco-
manders and platoon sergeants for mili- were also retrained in Germany. Q: As you already mentioned, you George C. Marshall European Center for nomics and chairman of the Department
tary units. Three training courses are Since 2003, Germany has a perma- support the preparation of qualified Security Studies visited Georgia earlier of Nonresident Activities at the George
currently offered – a basic training nent representative at the Defense Min- NCOs. Have you encountered any this month. The U.S. experts also visit- C. Marshall European Center for Secu-
course for section commanders of light istry with the mission to strengthen bi- problems doing so in Georgia? ed the Defense Ministry. rity Studies; Vernon Hodges, Eurasia
infantry specialties, a platoon sergeants lateral cooperation between the coun- A: I think military servicemen should The goal of the visit was to review Security Sector Reform strategist for the
course and a transformation course for tries and take an active part in establish- receive the rank of sergeant only after issues of interdepartmental coordination George C. Marshall European Center for
personnel who have not yet passed the ing a professional NCO corps. passing special courses at the NCO in security sector management and na- Security Studies and Tiffany Petros, a
needed training courses. Defense Today talked about this and School. The study process must be stan- tional security revision. defense reform supporter of the Office
The school’s curriculum fully corre- other important issues to German Mil- dardized as well. The officers and ser- At the meeting, the experts took an of the Secretary of Defense/Partnership
sponds with NATO standards. The meth- itary Adviser Bernhard Hopp. geants are not prepared according to the interest in the progress of the National Strategy and Stability Operations.
same standards. All this hinders coordi- Security Review defense sector, and Among the Georgian representatives
nated activities. studied local needs and capacities in this attending the meeting were Defense
Q: How can you assess the level of regard. Ministry leaders and ODC and CUBIC
preparedness of NCOs? Do they meet The official delegation comprised the teams. The U.S. experts also held meet-
the international standards? following top officials: Dr. John M. ings in various governmental entities.
A: The multinational exercises, Co-
operative Longbow and Cooperative
Lancer, demonstrated that the sergeants
who trained at the NCO School at sec-
tion level successfully performed their
tasks. Providing preparation for NCOs
in various specialties is also a priority.
Some time ago, the curriculum was de-
veloped. This summer, we plan to launch
sergeant artillery, communications, en-
gineering, tank and mechanized infan-
try courses to support the professional
development of the NCOs. Generally
speaking, the practical skills and abili-
ties of sergeants prepared at the NCO
School are at the highest level and cor-
respond with NATO standards.

Eka Gakhokidze
4 MONTHLY SUPPLEMENT OF GEORGIA TODAY SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE #27

German defense attache visits Kazbegi something very extraordinary. It was legend of Amirani who was chained on moment of my life, even more than the
something special,” he said. He was ac- Kazbegi. There is a special aura around birth of my daughter.”
companied by a diplomat and colleague the mountain. I had tears in my eyes. I Farkhondeh plans to repeat the ex-
from the police. They were led by two carried the German and Georgian flags pedition next year, but said next time he
Georgian guides. and I was proud raising them on the will be better prepared.
The trip continued for four days. mounttain. It was the most emotional Nino Gogochishvili
Before the expedition, group members
trained eight Sundays in various loca-
tions such as the Lomisi Monastery and
mountains around Mtskheta and Tbilisi
Lake.
The team started their expedition at
Stephantsminda. Later, they took a horse
for their luggage and moved to a camp-
ing site built by German prisoners after
WWII. Before heading further up the
mountain, the expedition members
prayed in a small church.
The path to summit was very rough,
Farkhondeh recalled. Reaching the top
Two years have passed since German Georgian culture and nature, and spends of the mountain, he said, he felt proud
Defense Attache Lt. Col. Christian his free time sightseeing throughout the of his success and raised both the Geor-
Farkhondeh began his work in Georgia. country. The defence attache has stated gian and German flags. Farkhondeh said
Farkhondeh is deeply involved in de- his love of Georgian churches and after this tour he felt deeply connected
fense reforms in the country, and regu- mountainous regions. On Sept. 14, to Georgia.
larly attends every important event or- Farkhondeh visited Kazbegi Mountain. “It was emotionally and physically
ganized by the Defense Ministry. “I was in Shatili, Mestia, and Ush- the most incredible experience I have
Farkhonde is keen to learn about guli, but to be on the top of Kazbegi was ever had,” he said. “I know about the

Military servicemen Armed forces holds first


participate in harvest wrestling competition
Georgian military servicemen partic- vicemen will provide assistance to lo- The first wrestling tournament for
ipated in the crop harvesting process in cal residents until all the crops are gath- Georgian armed forces members was held
the Kakheti region. The Tenth Cadre ered. at the Joint Staff Sports Hall Sept. 24.
Brigade of the National Guard Depart- “We are in the Akhaltsikhe village,” Eighty-three soldiers in various weight
ment in Telavi spent their time picking Arsoshvili said. “Our units moved out categories participated in the competition.
grapes together with Telavi, Kvareli and to various directions to get engaged in The goal of the event was to popularize
Gurjaani citizens. the harvesting process. I should mention wrestling in the armed forces.
The Defense Ministry offered assis- that our efforts to stand by the local pop- Successful competitors received per-
tance to families who could not afford to ulation will be frequent and continue mission after the event to participate in
hire the required labor to harvest their until the end of the harvest. Local resi- other tournaments.
crops. The department and province rep- dents have started appealing for help and The tournament was organized by the
resentatives made a list of these families. our soldiers stand ready to meet their Administrative Department’s Sports
National Guard Department head requirements. At the first stage, up to 50 Service at the Joint Staff and Georgian
Zurab Arsoshvili also took part in the families appealed to ministry and this National Wrestling Federation’s Sports
harvest. He noted that the military ser- number may increase in the future.” and Youth Department. Servicemen
showed immense interest in the compe-
tition.
“The popularization of the sport in
the Georgian armed forces is one of the
main priorities of the ministry,” Joint
Staff Senior Sergeant Aluda Kopaliani
said. “This day clearly demonstrates our
approach to sports. Now, we are hold- Ushangi Kurashvili gave a positive eval- ticipate in othehr sports competitions.”
ing a wrestling tournament, but we are uation of the event. First place went to the armed forces’
also going to organize competitions in “The interest of our soldiers in Geor- special operations team. The winners
other sports. Such competitions will help gian wrestling is high,” he said. “There received diplomas, medals and cups. At
our soldiers to develop their physical are many familiar faces here who par- the end of the competition, Sports Ser-
fitness, which will help them better im- ticipated in the world and national cham- vice Administration head Revaz Kiladze
plement their military missions.” pionship and many other international noted that none of the participants were
Tournament co-organizer, Georgian tournaments. After this event we will injured during the event.
National Wrestling Federation President establish a ministry team that will par- Tea Ivanishvili

Saint Vakhtang Gorgasali Cathedral


ground-laying ceremony held
U.S. marines help A new church is being constructed
in remembrance of the soldiers who per-

disabled children ished during the war last August. The


foundation of the Saint Vakhtang Gor-
gasali Cathedral was first laid Sept. 15,
The Martkopi Specialized Organiza- Force and Fleet personnel, standing where Archbishop Father Theodore con-
tion for People with Disabilities held a ready to work side-by-side. Today, in- secrated the groundwork and held
charity event to help disabled children stead of having a rest, we decided to a public prayer.
Sept. 18 with Georgian military service- come here and make our share of con- Together with ecclesiastical figures,
men and the U.S. Marine Corps. The tribution voluntarily.” the ground-laying ceremony was attend-
U.S. military personally offered their According to U.S. Lt. Col. Dan T. ed by family members and relatives of
assistance to the organization during Thoele, such assistance will continue in deceased servicemen, Deputy Defense
their visit to the country. the future. Minister Nika Dzimtseishvili, Georgian
As Master Sgt. Brent L. Dorrough “The planned works will continue for MPs and other officials.
said, the goal of their visit was not only several weeks,” he said. “The cathedral’s construction and
to train Georgian servicemen, but to help Assistance was arranged for the Mar- praying is the only thing we can do for
those in need. tkopi-based organization due to a short- our fallen heroes,” Dzimtseishvili said.
“Helping mentally disabled children age of funds. Military servicemen from The construction is carried out with
is a matter of dignity for all of us,” Dor- both sides express their willingness to the blessing of Georgian Patriarch Ilia
rough said. “Alongside Georgian ser- continue helping the organization in the II and upon the initiative of the Vakhtang
vicemen, there are U.S. Marines and Air future. Gzirishvili Fund.