NATO-Georgia relations date back to 1992, when Georgia joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (in 1997 succeeded the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council). The EAPC represents the main political forum for the partner countries.
Cooperation broadened after Georgia joined the Partnership for Peace programme in 1994. The PfP programme allows partners to build up an individual relationship with NATO, defining priority areas of cooperation.
In 1996 Georgia elaborated the first NATO-Georgia Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (previously called the Individual Partnership Programme) which represents an extensive menu of activities tailored to partner country’s specific interests and needs.
Since 1996 Georgia has actively participated and hosted a number of NATO/PfP trainings and exercises.
NATO-Georgia relations have significantly enhanced by development of various partnership tools and mechanisms through the PfP programme. They are focused on building capabilities, interoperability and supporting defence and security-related reforms in Georgia.
Georgia joined the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) in 1999. The PARP contributes to development of effective, affordable and sustainable Georgian Armed Forces (GAF). It serves as a planning tool to guide and measure progress in defence and military transformation efforts. To this end, the NATO International Staff produces a PARP assessment annually, which analyzes the advancement of Georgia in r7imeeting the agreed Partnership Goals (PGs). The PARP itself is a two-year process and based on PARP Survey PGs are reviewed once in two years.
In 2004 Georgia became the first country to elaborate an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO.
At NATO Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied Heads of State and Government agreed that Georgia will become a member of NATO. Consecutively, Allies reiterated their support to Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration aspiration at Stasbourg/Kehl Summit (2009), Lisbon Summit (2010), Chicago Summit (2012) and Wales Summit (2014).
In September 2008 the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) was established. The NGC provides the framework for cooperation between NATO and Georgia and serves as a forum for both political and practical cooperation to assist Georgia in the NATO membership process.
In December 2008 NATO Foreign Ministers decided to further enhance NATO-Georgia relations through development of an Annual National Programme (ANP) that replaced the IPAP. The Programme is a practical cooperation mechanism between NATO and Georgia aimed at assisting country to achieve the NATO interoperability. The document includes general activities as well as concrete actions to be implemented throughout the year in line with NATO recommendations and priorities of Georgian government. The document is assessed annually by NATO Team.
In August 2010 the North Atlantic Council (NAC) decided to enhance military-to military cooperation with Georgia by initiating new partnership tool - Military Committee with Georgia Work Plan (MC+GEO Work Plan), elaborated every two year. The MC+GEO Work Plan defines key areas and objectives for military cooperation between NATO and the GAF and comprises activities that supports to achieve the goals set in the ANP and PARP.
In 2004 position of NATO Liaison Officer in South Caucasus was established in Tbilisi (within the Ministry of Defence of Georgia). Officer covered cooperation between the Alliance and South Caucasus countries. In October 2010 the NATO Liaison Office was inaugurated in Tbilisi designed to assist and support the country’s reform efforts and Georgia’s NATO membership process.
In 2010 Sachkhere Mountain Training School received the status of NATO/PfP Mountain Training and Education Centre. Since 2011 school has been conducting the International Basic and Intermediate Winter/ Summer Mountain Training Courses for military personnel of NATO member and partner nations.
In December 2011 at the NATO Foreign Ministerial Allies referred to Georgia as to an NATO aspirant country.
In 2013 Georgia made a decision to participate in the NATO Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) with the aim to further increase NATO interoperability. Georgia’s light infantry company will participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF) 2015. To this end, in summer 2014 the company successfully went through the NATO evaluation process and currently undergoes certification procedures. Georgia has also expressed readiness to participate in the NRF beyond 2015.
The NATO Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, conducted its first ever visit to Georgia on February 11-12, 2014. The visit provided the Committee a unique opportunity to get a first-hand impression of Georgia's ambitious defence reforms, that was positivity assessed and to commend its substantial contribution to international security.
On September 4-5, 2014 the NATO Summit was held in the UK. The NATO Allies acknowledges Georgia as one of the most interoperable partner among the NATO aspirant nations and together with Sweden, Finland, Australia and Jordan was invited to the “Enhanced Opportunity Partner’s Group”.
At Wales Summit, Allies have endorsed a Substantial NATO-Georgia Package that will strengthen Georgia’s security, contribute to development of defence capabilities and will further increase interoperability with NATO. Based on the new initiative NATO presence will be increased in Georgia, Georgia will be more integrated into the NATO structures and will be closer to NATO integration objective.
Diverse programmes have been launched to assist Georgia to successfully implement defence transformation and promote the development of effective defence institutions that are under civilian and democratic control.
NATO Defence Enhancement Programme (DEEP) is a tailored programme launched in 2009 and designed to assist Georgian MoD in various directions. The programme envisages faculty development, elaboration of the training programs and providing expertise to the defence education and training institutions of MOD. Various trainings, courses, familiarization visits, Mobile Training Teams (MTT) and seminars are organized within the programme. Currently DEEP is focused on development of National Defence Academy.
In 2009 Professional Development Programme (PDP) was launched. The Programme supports professional development of the entire security sector employees and initially the main focus was made on the MoD personnel. The PDP courses are designed for various agencies and are conducted on national as well as on international levels. This process contributes to the enhancement of interagency communication and cooperation among Georgian security agencies.
The scope of PDP activities covers English language, cyber and information security, public relations, security sector management, civil service reform and human resource management, core management competencies, legal issues, analytical skills, procurement, support to the National Defence Academy’s faculty building and development of the Professional Development Center (PDC).
Georgia participates in the Building Integrity (BI) Initiative and benefits from the various educational and training programmes. In 2013 Georgia made a decision to complete a NATO BI Self-assessment Survey and join a Peer Review Process. The aim of the programme is to enhance transparency and accountability and integrity of the Georgian defence and security sector. The Alliance has elaborated the Peer Review Report based on BI Self Assessment Survey completed by the Georgian Government and analyses undertaken by NATO team during the interviews conducted in Tbilisi. The NATO BI Peer Review report analyses the steps taken by the Ministry to promote transparency and integrity, and highlights the areas requiring further improvement. Based on NATO BI expert team recommendations, the MoD is ready to share the best practices of the defence and security sector with partner nations through NATO and South-Eastern Defence Ministerial (SEDM) formats. To this end, Defence Institution Building Team was established at the Ministry. Moreover, in accordance with the NATO BI Peer Review Team Report the BI Action Plan 2014-2015 was approved that identifies the MoD priorities and planned activities.
Georgia has been actively cooperating with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA, former NATO Maintenance and Support Agency, NAMSA) since 2002. Through this cooperation three NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund projects - Georgia I, Georgia II and Georgia III were successfully implemented. The launch of the new project Georgia IV was announced in 2013. It is designed to clear Georgian munitions at Skra destroyed during the August war in 2008; train EOD Company in demining levels 3 and 4 and conduct advanced ordnance disposal. In March 2014 the implementing agreement between Georgia and the NATO Support Organization (NSPO) on EOD Clearance of the Skra Site and EOD Capability Development in Georgia was signed. In October 2014 the new project “Georgia IV” was officially inaugurated and is being successfully implemented.
In 2012 Georgia joined the NATO multinational Smart Defence Initiative. Currently, Georgia participates in five multinational Smart Defence projects and continues negotiations with the Allies to further define and join other projects.
Multinational Military Flight Crew Training (Turkey); Multinational Maritime Security Centre of Excellence (Turkey); Female Leaders in Security and Defence (Bulgaria); Individual Training and Education Programme (Allied Command Transformation); MN Infrastructure Military Engineering Capability (Romania).