2002 Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP): Reasons and Effects on Political and Institutional Defense Transformation
Having risen from the ashes of the Soviet Union, Georgia was a country in desperate need of support and development. As one
of the former Soviet republics, Georgia was now not only a newly independent country but a country with its own new Army.
The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) began in 2002 and involved United States Armed Forces and Georgian Defense
Forces. It was designed to train and equip a few Georgian battalions using small unit tactics to fight terrorism. I examine in
more detail what GTEP was.
To help the reader fully understand the reasons and effects of GTEP, I identify the role Georgia’s geo-strategic location played
in the implementation of GTEP and Georgia’s role in the struggle for spheres of influence between the West (NATO and the
United States) and Russia. Accordingly, in this article I examine the Geo-political environment surrounding the country of
Georgia as Russia was determined to keep Georgia close politically and militarily and NATO at a distance. Concurrently, the
West desired to reduce the Russian sphere of influence which incorporated much of the former Soviet Union. At the same time,
the United States and NATO desired to expand NATO to Russia’s border. Conflict was inevitable. In addition to spheres of
influence, Georgia was and is uniquely positioned geographically to play quite a significant role in the Global War on Terror
Accordingly, several additional points of stress existed between Russia and Georgia including The Pankisi Gorge, Abkhazia
and South Ossetia along the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The Pankisi Gorge is located
within Georgia. Chechnya borders the Pankisi Gorge and due to the terrain, the boarder is quite difficult to control which
enabled terrorists and criminal groups to exploit the area.
Through this study, one may see the effect GTEP had on Georgian political and institutional defense transformation. One may
also see Georgia’s reasons for political and institutional defense transformation and how they compare to the U.S.’s reasons for