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SECURITY SECTOR / Analytical Documents

National Security Architecture of Georgia

National security is a multi-faceted concept. To put it in a single and universally applicable definition would be a burdensome task. Placing emphasis only on law enforcement and militarized institutions while discussing national security is a narrow and outdated approach.[1] In a modern sense, national security is much more complex – it encompasses any activity carried out to secure national interests - detecting, identifying, assessing, preventing, and eliminating threats, risks, and the state's internal and external challenges. The Law of Georgia “On Planning and Coordination of the National Security Policy” shares this very logic and states that the areas of the national security policy are as follows:[2]

  • state defense;
  • external security;
  • internal security;
  • social, economic, and energy security;
  • public safety;
  • information security;
  • legal order.

The state security architecture is the set of institutions responsible for developing and implementing the policy framework in this area. Proper functioning of the security system with national-level coordinated actions and proper democratic oversight is based on accurate and apt identification of threats, risks, and challenges and adequate response to them. Accordingly, national security policy must be perceived as a multi-layered architecture to effectively distribute competencies between state agencies and promote apt oversight between them.

It is vital to design a clear legislative framework for establishing a reliable and stable national security system as modern democratic standards dictate. Besides, the sharp division of competencies and adequate mechanisms for checks and balances must be in place. National security architecture should guarantee the proper distribution of powers, effective development and implementation of agency-level and national-level policies, apt institutional checks and balances, effective inter-agency coordination, and democratic oversight.

The current constitutional order has altered the security system: the Government’s competencies in state security have grown, whereas the President's – weakened.[3] Powers and accountability stakeholders of some agencies reshaped. The Parliament approves the National Security Concept of Georgia, [4] while the planning and coordination process of the policy is entirely up to the executive branch. The President's deliberative bodies -  the State Security and Crisis Management Council and the National Security Council - were abolished.[5] The functions of the abolished councils were accorded to the newly established National Security Council (‘the NSC’. Though the names of the abolished and newly created councils coincide in the English language, in Georgian, they differ slightly - author). The NSC provides information to the Prime Minister on matters threatening national security. Other than that, NSC envisions policy decisions for the Prime Minister and is responsible for planning and coordinating the national security policy. Obligations to implement the activities outlined by national-level conceptual documents are allocated among various state agencies. The composition of the NSC[6] indicates that the following bodies are involved in carrying out the goals and objectives of national security:

  • State Security Service;
  • Intelligence Service;
  • Ministry of Defence;
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs;
  • Special State Protection Service;
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Ministry of Finance.

Each of the above-listed agencies has a mandate defined by the legislation to ensure national security via their structural subdivisions. The fact that securing national interests is the duty of law enforcement and/or militarized agencies does not preclude other institutions from being involved in guaranteeing state security.

This document reviews the institutional arrangement, main functions, management issues and the accountability concerns over the National Security Council and its bodies.


Footnote and Bibliography

[1]Giorgi Bilanishvili, “Dangers Originating from Russia and Georgia’s Security System”, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies”, 04.01.2018, available: https://bit.ly/3KLOJAY, accessed 29.03.2023. 

[2] Article 3, The Law of Georgia “On Planning and Coordination of the National Security Policy”.

[3]Articles 49, 52, 54 and 55 of the Constitutional Law of Georgia “On Amending the Constitution of Georgia”, available: https://bit.ly/3JT6ahu, accessed 28.03.2023.

[4] Articles 14 and 15, The Law of Georgia “On Planning and Coordination of the National Security Policy”.

[5] Website of the National Security Council, section “About the Council”, available: https://bit.ly/3Unugpm, accessed: 29.03.2023.

[6] Paragraph 2 of the Article 193, The Law of Georgia “On Planning and Coordination of the National Security Policy”.

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