Tactical

Pentagon postpones Army exercise amid diplomatic tensions with Georgia

The Pentagon on Friday “indefinitely” called off a U.S. Army exercise in the country of Georgia, which neighbors Russia, as U.S. officials review future cooperation with the country.

The training event, dubbed Noble Exercise 2024, was scheduled to run from July 25 to Aug. 6, and normally takes place at Vaziani and Camp Norio Training Areas outside the capital city of Tbilisi. The Pentagon said the Georgian government has spread misinformation that the United States and other allies had pressured the country to open a second front on its border with Russia.

Officials in Georgia also accused U.S. officials of attempting two coups against the country’s ruling party.

“The United States government has determined that this is an inappropriate time to hold a large-scale military exercise in Georgia,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

In 2022 during a military exercise in Georgia, some 2,400 service members from the United States and 19 other nations participated. This year, a combination of approximately 3,000 U.S. and allied troops were scheduled to participate in the drills, U.S. Army Europe and Africa spokesman Terry Welch told Military Times in an email.

On May 30, the U.S. government announced a “comprehensive” review of its relationship with the small country in the South Caucasus.

The change of plans came as Georgia faced accusations that the country is trending toward authoritarianism and growing its relationship with Russia.

The country’s parliament passed a controversial “foreign agents” bill into law, overriding the president’s veto of the legislation. The legislation, which critics say mimics a similar law in Russia, requires media and other non-governmental organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from outside the country to register as a foreign agent, according to the Associated Press.

Critics said the legislation would impact Tbilisi’s efforts to join NATO and integrate with the European Union.

In April 2008, then-President George Bush tried to rally members of NATO to allow both Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance at NATO’s yearly summit. Other members of the alliance, however, rejected the proposition.

While Noble Exercise 2024 has been postponed, the Pentagon said in the statement it looks forward to working with allies in the Agile Spirit 2025 military exercise, which traditionally takes place in both Turkey and Georgia.

Units from V Corps, as well as the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Georgia Army National Guard, and the Navy’s Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11, were all slated to participate.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a reporter at Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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