As Russian troops invade, from
bases in southern Russia, 127 American military trainers remain in Georgia (the
one in the Caucasus). They weren't the only foreign troops around, as at the
end of July, a thousand Ukrainian, Azeri, Armenian and U.S. troops departed
after holding joint training exercises with their Georgian counterparts.
For the past
three years, several hundred American military trainers have run the GSSOP
(Georgia Sustainment and Stability Operations Program), which has trained over
5,000 Georgian troops, many for eventual service in Iraq. The trainers were
American soldiers and marines, who imparted their combat experience to the
Georgians. This was much appreciated, as Georgia aspires to membership in NATO.
That requires the Georgian being able to achieve NATO standards in training and
equipment. Georgia hoped to get into NATO by next year.
U.S. trainers, usually a team of 70 Americans taking a 600 man Georgian
infantry battalion through a 17 week training program, concentrate on combat
subjects. Other training programs
instructed support and staff troops.
been an active participant in peacekeeping operations since 1999, when they
sent 200 troops to Kosovo, and kept
troops there until the present. In 2003, 70 peacekeepers were sent to Iraq. The
following year, 50 troops were sent to Afghanistan. In 2004, the Iraq
contingent was increased to 300. That was increased to 850 in 2005. Last year,
the Iraq force was increased to 2,000. The Georgians were highly regarded by
troops they worked with on these peacekeeping missions.
a population of about 4.6 million, and an active duty military of about 28,000
troops. Russia has a population of 142 million, and an active duty military of
about a million personnel. The U.S. has been helping Georgia train and equip an
army reserve force of about 100,000. Only about a fifth of that force has been
organized so far. Georgia was hoping to
develop a sufficient qualitative advantage to discourage the Russians.