The state of affairs in the Georgian Army, relations between media and military agencies as well as mechanisms of and prospects for public control of the Armed Forces are key issues at the ongoing defense conference in the South Caucasus country.
"After 2009, the Defense Ministry will abandon conscription, and the military will shift to a contract basis," Nodar Kharshiladze, head of the ministry's planning and defense policy department told a defense conference.
He said a network of reservist battalions would be set up by that time. "All reservists will take a single combat training course in 2007 and a refresher course in military professions in 2008. Distinguished leaders will undergo 10-day training for platoon commanders," the official said.
The conference, attended by Defense Ministry officials, military experts, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was organized at the initiative of two NGOs.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.