DASD Carpenter Visits Georgia, Signs Security Cooperation Framework (December 5 – 7)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Carpenter. Photo: MOD Georgia
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Carpenter. Photo: MOD Georgia
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Carpenter. Photo: MOD Georgia

DASD Carpenter Visits Georgia, Signs Security Cooperation Framework (December 5 – 7)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Michael Carpenter visited Georgia December 5-7.  During the course of his visit, Dr. Carpenter met with the President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense.  Dr. Carpenter and Minister of Defense Levan Izoria signed a 3-year Security Cooperation Framework to identify mutual long-term objectives, align priorities with resource planning, and develop enduring capabilities.  The Framework supports the existing Memorandum on Deepening the Defense and Security Partnership between our two countries, and complements Georgian defense concepts.  He also delivered remarks at a roundtable hosted by the Atlantic Council attended by a broad audience of scholars, think tanks, and NGOs.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Carpenter’s Joint Press Conference with Defense Minister Izoria (December 6)

Thank you very much Mr. Minister for having me here today in the Ministry of Defense.  It is a pleasure to be here.  Of course, you all know that the United States and Georgia have the strategic partnership, which we launched in 2009.  This partnership is fundamentally rooted in the common values that we share as democracies.  Georgia has just had free and fair democratic elections.  We have just had an election in the United States.  We are now here to discuss deepening of our defense relations.  We had Secretary Kerry here in July to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on deepening our security and defense relations.  And I am very pleased to be here today and to have signed with the Minister of Defense a three-year security cooperation framework that will elaborate, not just in words, but that will specify concrete actions that we can take together to implement what was signed by Secretary Kerry and Prime Minster Kvirikashvili.  The Minister mentioned development of a combat training center; the United States is pleased to have supported this.  Our goal is to advance the cooperation between our militaries, hold further and more exercises between our two countries built on the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package that was announced at the Wales Summit and then amplified and intensified in the Warsaw Summit.  The United States participates in that in the NATO context but we also are doing more bilaterally and will be doing more in the coming years to help train our Georgian counterparts.  We will focus, not just as we have been to-date, on expanding training for Georgia’s remarkable contributions to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, but we will also be doing more training in the future to help advance Georgia’s territorial defense capabilities.  This is an important element of our cooperation today; it is an important part of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package.  So we are pleased to be doing more on that front.  And I just have to say Georgia has been such a stalwart partner for the United States with its contributions both in Iraq and Afghanistan that we are proud to partner with your military, Mr. Minister, and we intend to uphold that contribution and continue to do more work together in the future and, so, I am very pleased to be here and to take part in this launching of the new initiatives in this regard.
Q-n from Imedi TV about the three-year Framework Agreement and if the Defense Authorization Bill envisages financial support for the activities under the Framework Agreement

DASD Carpenter: So, you are correct that we have…the United States Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Bill.  This bill provides authorization for defense spending through the fiscal year 2017.  Our system of authorizing funding for various security cooperation activities does not contain line items for specific countries.  So, we will be funding our cooperation with Georgia from a number of different authorities within the overall defense budget, which is $615 billion.  But, there is no specific line item for Georgia cooperation, we draw on a number of different authorities to be able to launch the types of joint trainings and exercises that we have here.

Q-n from Rustavi 2 if the United States is going to supply Georgia’s armed forces with modern armaments

DASD Carpenter: So, certainly, we do provide military equipment to Georgia, including lethal military equipment.  We will continue to provide cutting edge armaments and systems to Georgia.  Right now, we are focused primarily on training.  It is important as one builds up a capable military that one has in place the training systems and the readiness within the force for them be able to sustain advanced systems.  So, we are focused right now on training but, certainly, we do provide equipment for the Georgian armed forces, we have for the last eight or nine or ten years and we will continue to do that in the future.

Q-n from Maestro TV about Black Sea security and the role of the United States and Georgia

DASD Carpenter: Briefly on Black Sea security, this is obviously an area where we cooperate with our Georgian friends, there are a number of NATO allies that are Black Sea littoral states to include Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey.  I think it is important that we focus on NATO’s maritime presence in the Black Sea and how we can enhance the defense of our NATO allies and how we can work with our partners in the region.  It is a subject that has been discussed in the NATO context and we will continue to have a dialogue on that.  My visit here to Tbilisi is primarily focused on our bilateral cooperation, but certainly that dialogue takes place in the NATO framework as well.