A team of U.S. and British military officials has held a series of fresh briefings for Armenian military personnel to assist in ongoing defense reforms that are supposed to bring Armenia’s armed forces into greater conformity with NATO standards.
In a statement, the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that the “joint expert group” arrived in Yerevan on Sunday and has since been meeting with various ministry officials and army officers. The group comprises representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense, Marine Corps, Defense Resources Management Institute and the British Ministry of Defense, said the statement.
The statement added that the briefings specifically focus on the recruitment, training and role of non-commissioned officers in the U.S. and British militaries as well as rules and procedures regulating their service.
The Armenian military is increasingly recruiting army sergeants on a contractual basis as part of the defense reforms supported by NATO.
Visiting Yerevan on October 29, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that U.S. Marines have held “a number of exercises” with Armenian troops this year. Part of that was focused on the development of a highly capable and highly professional non-commissioned officer corps,” he explained.
Armenia’s broader ties with NATO have deepened significantly under the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) launched in 2005. A senior NATO official told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) earlier this month that the U.S.-led alliance is ready to give Yerevan “more support for defense reform.”