By Col. David CarstensApril 6, 2017
The country of Georgia has a remarkable military history and tradition. They have had to in order to ensure their survival as a nation after almost three centuries of constant attacks and attempts to occupy its territories. Even the standard greeting of the day given by men, women, and children on the streets or at the market, echoes this military tradition: "Gamarjveba" which means 'Victory.'
U.S. Army Europe with its motto of "Strong Europe" has a similar tradition forged on the battlefield and like Georgia, is focused on the deterrence of Russia.
Under these similar conditions, the U.S. Army Europe's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) met with key inspectors of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) Feb. 14-16 in Tbilisi, Georgia. The purpose of the visit was to continue an enduring, professional relationship between two NATO partners in the absence of a NATO Inspector General.
The OIG achieved four goals during this engagement: (1) developed a relationship with its natural counterpart in the GAF, the Combat Readiness Monitoring Division or CRMD, (2) identified organizational commonalities, common functions, and training shortfalls, (3) planned for future combined IG training to mutually enhance effectiveness, and (4) strengthened interoperability by laying the groundwork for future combined inspections. These goals were easily achieved given U.S. ARMY EUROPE'S 's already established strong relationship with this great NATO partner as well as the GAF's intense desire to achieve organizational improvement. During this engagement, U.S. Army Europe's OIG met with the Chiefs of CRMD, Internal Audit (IA), Military Police (MP) which conducts investigations, and the MoD Inspector General.
The GAF's CRMD is no stranger to bilateral cooperation with the U.S. Army. The Georgia Army National Guard (GAARNG) Inspector General already has an effective, enduring relationship with the CRMD. Also, Georgia participated in the first-ever U.S. Army Europe sponsored European IG Workshop (2016) and provided outstanding feedback and lessons learned to the nine countries in attendance.
While the CRMD organizationally falls directly under the GAF, the Georgians also have a Chief of General Inspection aligned under Georgia's MoD. The two agencies/directorates play a key role in combining efforts and actions to accomplish the 'IG mission.'
While different than the U.S. structure, the OIG found several areas of interoperability and exchanged some best practices on site. For example, the CRMD is revising its readiness checklists as part of the Georgia Defense Readiness Plan (GDRP). This is an effort that closely resembles the U.S. Army's Organizational Inspection Program (OIP) where OIG has considerable experience in following regulatory guidance, producing U.S. Army Europe specific OIP guidelines, and assisting the G3 in the conduct of inspections. Several other future exchange areas were also noted such as the conduct of internal audits and investigations.
The CRMD and U.S. Army Europe OIG also examined areas of mutual expertise and sought ways to combine resources that help tackle some of the problems both organizations face; one area being IG specific training. In addition to shaping the schedule at the 2017 European IG Workshop, OIG is hoping to get more Georgian soldiers and civilians to The Inspector General School: the U.S. Army's certification "gold standard" for all IGs conducted at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Colonel Janjgava, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the GAF fully understands the importance of TIGS since he himself is a 2014 graduate. As he remarked during the visit, "TIGS provided me with a standards based approach to looking at problems inside our organization."
Although the GAF and MoD are currently undergoing reforms based on previous readiness assessments, their military leadership's eagerness to create positive change is a prime example of how effective their organizations is. Before the engagement was concluded, both the CRMD and U.S. Army Europe's OIG began developing a road map for future engagements (to include the GAARNG IG) that lead to conducting a bilateral combined inspection during an upcoming multi-national exercise.
While military partnership and strong tradition brought these organizations together, it is their common function as inspectors general that will positively fuel this relationship for years to come.
U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.