YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The Armenian Defense Ministry unveiled on Monday plans to set up a special think-tank that will advise it on defense and national security issues.
Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian and the leadership of Armenia’s Armed Forces attended an official ceremony marking the start of work on a building that will house the ministry’s National Strategic Research Center. Officials said its construction will cost $600,000 and will be complete within a year.
The center will be named after the late General Drastamat (Dro) Kanayan–one of the most prominent military commanders of the first Armenian Republic that existed from 1918-1920. Kanayan’s US-based descendants have donated $350,000 for the project and were also present at the ceremony. The rest of the money will be raised by the Diaspora-financed All-Armenian Fund Hayastan.
Sarkisian said that the center–the first of its kind in Armenia–is expected to provide the Armenian military and other security agencies with "quality advice" on security challenges facing the country.
The think-tank will be headed by Colonel Hayk Kotanjian–who until recently served as military attach at the Armenian embassy in Washington. It is not yet clear whether its personnel will be dominated by army officers or civilian