National Defence Academy of Georgia
The National Defence Academy was recently opened by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Georgian Armed Forces, Mikheil Saakashvili. The President of Georgia called the new military educational institution a symbol of the country’s revival.
“The invader, which intervened in Georgia three-years ago, annihilated this military base. We however, have restored the base and have built an even better military academy- one similar to which Georgia has never had throughout its history,” said Saakashvili.
“Our country is in a very difficult geopolitical situation,” added the President. “There are not enough fingers to count all the invaders who thought throughout Georgia’s history that they had invaded this land and extinguished the existence of Georgia. Furthermore, many of the empires which invaded Georgia [have since] disappeared. But Georgia turned out to be eternal,” the president continued. “As long as Georgia is alive, we will have the necessity to protect our country and therefore the necessity to have armed forces”, President Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili noted that several kilometers from Gori the occupying Russian Army set up a military foothold in Georgia. “But let’s take a broader look… This place is the heart of Georgia,” he said.
Mikheil Saakashvili also spoke about the importance of Georgia’s participation in the ISAF mission. He pointed out that Georgia’s military contribution to the Afghan operation provides the Georgian army “invaluable combat experience” and to the country it provides the “solidarity and support” of its allies.
“Many people question what the Georgian soldiers are doing in Afghanistan and I often hear that the Georgian government wants to score political points or that Saakashvili wants to keep his chair and that’s why he sacrifices the lives of our soldiers. Neither my chair nor my life is worth anything to me when it comes to Georgia and its supreme interests,” Saakashvili said.
“The Georgian soldiers are in Afghanistan because it makes the Georgian armed forces stronger and because this provides invaluable combat experience,” Saakashvili said. “I have heard from General Petraeus that the Georgian peacekeeping contingent was the best he had ever interacted with in Iraq and Afghanistan aside from the Americans. General Petraeus has told me that the Georgian peacekeepers were distinguished by something which is unexplainable, giving them preference over the armed forces of other countries. But in order to maintain a high combat readiness it needs permanent testing in a combat environment and constant training.”
He said that the first reaction on the question of whether Georgian troops should be in Afghanistan or not will of course be “no, they should not.”
“But let’s think more deeply about the challenges and threats currently facing Georgia. The main question is if our country really needs armed forces with significant combat experience or assistance from our powerful partners; certainly we need these things, otherwise the country will not be able to survive. And this kind of experience will only be obtained through participating in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. If we want to function as a state we must have armed forces, and if we wish to have an army we should be in Afghanistan,” he said.
“If we want to have the country, we should have the army; if we want to have the army, we should be in Afghanistan.”
“And that’s not because of scoring political points; I know that it is not popular, but I also know that our ability to put our country’s long-term interests above our popularity is what makes us different from political demagogues.”
“In a decisive moment, soldiers and officers, who have gone through this experience, will serve Georgia, will protect Georgia and will save Georgia.”
“By the way, these questions are not at all asked among soldiers and their families and I appreciate it very much,” Saakashvili added.
He also underscored that the newly-opened defence academy is one of the best equipped, comfortable military educational institutions in the world. “In terms of higher-education, we created the highest standards for our military here and that is one of the best parts of Georgian society. This academy will raise future well-known Georgian Generals,” stated the President.
The Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy of Georgia was opened on September 16. The building complex of the renewed National Defence Academy includes accommodation buildings, a canteen, conference hall, recreation center, gymnasium, swimming pool, open sport grounds and gyms, educational buildings, library, medical center and an administrative building. The academy provides students with material and a technical base with international standards by providing accommodation, adequate messing, uniforms and medical service. The academy graduate is awarded with a bachelor’s degree and the military rank of Lieutenant. The institution will prepare officers in the following specializations: infantry, engineering, logistics, tank, mechanized artillery, aviation, air-defence and communications.
The academy’s bachelor’s programs are provided by two schools: The Technical Sciences school, which offers specialties in the building of airdromes and highways and information technologies, and the Business and Management school, which offers a program to attendees who are majoring in the specialties of general management, logistics and expediting. In addition, the academy will have a master’s department. The National Defence Academy also plans to send its best students to high-level international educational institutions via an exchange program.
Education at the academy is fully financed by the Ministry of Defence of Georgia.
The institution was founded on May 28, 1993. Under the decree of the Georgian government dated December 8, 2010 and on the base of National Defence Academy, LEPL “Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy of Georgia” was established as the only high level military educational institution in Georgia.
The academy has received 150 students so far this year. They were enrolled after passing national examinations as well as physical and psychological tests. Professors and academic staff have already been selected. Lectures will also be delivered by invited foreign tutors. The educational process to obtain a bachelor’s degree will take four years and to earn a master’s degree- an additional two years.