US support for a military reorganization effort is playing an increasingly central role in Georgia's overall reform campaign. Some political observers in Tbilisi argue that the Defense Ministry overhaul needs an enhanced civil-society component, otherwise progress made in transforming Georgia's armed forces into a NATO-friendly military could be lost.
For the past two years, the Georgian Train-and-Equip Program (GTEP), a $64-million initiative to create and train three battalions and one mechanized company, has been the centerpiece of US military support to this strategically placed country. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Now, following the conclusion of that program last April, public attention is focusing on the task of overhauling the defense bureaucracy itself - an undertaking coordinated by Cubic Corporation, a San Diego-based defense services contractor.
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Elizabeth Owen is a is a freelance writer specializing in political issues in the Caucasus.