RAND to Assist Georgia with National Security Reform

RAND researchers Robert Hunter and Stephen Larrabee met with Eduard Shevardnadze, President of Georgia, during a fact-finding trip to Tiblisi in late June. The two met with the president while visiting the Georgian capital to begin a project to help the Georgian National Security Advisor, Ambassador Tedo Japaridze (until recently Georgia's ambassador to the United States) undertake a fundamental reform of the Georgian National Security Council (NSC).

The visit, a joint endeavor of RAND Europe and NSRD's International Security Defense Policy Center, was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The department has asked RAND to assist Georgia's transition to a new National Security Council system, provide strategic advice, and help create viable institutions prior to the next presidential elections in 2005.

Such transformations will play a key part in Georgia's effort to modernize its ability to make strategic assessments, plan policy, improve decision-making, and coordinate national security actions.

Observers inside and outside Georgia do not question the need for reform. Georgia's NSC is too large to be an effective management instrument today. Moreover, the country uses an overly broad definition of "national security", one that includes not only external relations and what the United States has adopted as "homeland security", but also issues such as economic policy and the environment.

This NSC reform project builds on earlier RAND work that helped foster the creation of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. President Shevardnadze strongly endorsed RAND's role in this new project and noted that this RAND-Georgia partnership is an added means of strengthening U.S. relations with his country.