NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow announced during a speech in Tbilisi on 30 January 2015 that the alliance intends to open a new military training centre in Georgia by the end of the year. The new training centre is part of a package of measures to boost Georgia's defence capabilities agreed at the NATO Wales Summit in September last year. This effort to strengthen both NATO’s relationship with Georgia and the nation’s military capabilities is likely to add to existing NATO-Russia tensions.
“The Centre could host live and simulated training and certification for Allied and partner military units, in particular for units committed to the NATO Response Force," Vershbow said. "And it could also host exercises and training in support of our Connected Forces initiative".
Georgia’s military was largely destroyed during the brief 2008 Russian-Georgian War, which led to the de facto secession of the Republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgia. Although NATO has already agreed in principle that Georgia should one day become a member, these efforts have been on hold since the 2008 conflict. This is because the alliance generally does not accept states whose national boundaries are not under direct control.
Georgia is crossed by pipelines that carry Caspian oil and gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and has regularly contributed troops to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, with the ongoing Ukraine civil war, NATO is seeking to build-up capabilities in Eastern Europe, and planning to establish new command centres
close to the Russian frontier. The NATO Secretary General announced on 30 January 2015 that NATO will deploy small units in six Eastern European nations (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania) to help co-ordinate a spearhead force set up in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. NATO defence ministers will further discuss the full spearhead force when they meet on 5 February.
The forward units will comprise a few dozen personnel to plan and organize military exercises, and provide command and control for any reinforcements the force might require. France, meanwhile, has pledged tanks and armoured vehicles to bolster NATO forces in Poland. The French military equipment is expected to remain in Poland for two months.
Also on Friday, Russia's top general said
a strong nuclear arsenal will ensure military superiority over the West as Moscow forges ahead with a multi-billion dollar plan to modernize its nuclear forces by 2020.