Global Exchange of Military Information (GEMI)
Purpose and Background
The Global Exchange of Military Information (GEMI) is a politically-binding transparency measure obligating the Participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to report their military force structures. GEMI thereby serves as a confidence and security-building measure (CSBM) promoting openness and preventing conflicts potentially resulting from misinformation or a misunderstanding. GEMI entered into force on January 1, 1995, and the first data exchange occurred on July 1, 1995.
GEMI evolved from a proposal in the 1992 Helsinki Document’s Program for Immediate Action. As a CSBM, GEMI is part of the OSCE’s broad political-military transparency framework, which also includes agreements such as the Vienna Document 2011 (VDOC11) and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) . However, GEMI is unique in its global scope. Participating States discuss issues relating to GEMI implementation, including grievances, in the OSCE’s Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC). The FSC hosts the Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting (AIAM) every March to evaluate the implementation of all OSCE CSBMs, which include GEMI and VDOC11.
back to top
Key Verification Measures
GEMI includes no on-site inspection provisions. However, at the AIAM, OSCE Participating States may request clarification of information provided by another state in its annual data declaration.
Data declarations under GEMI are submitted annually by April 30 and contain information current as of January 1 of that year. States are obligated to include information on its military command structure and personnel, as well as information on major weapons and equipment systems holdings. The information is divided into land forces and other forces. Land forces are reported down to the division level and other forces are reported down to the army or equivalent level. All force totals, both inside and outside the state’s territory, are reported.
Data reported concerning the military command structure includes information on general staff locations and peacetime personnel strengths. Personnel strength information includes conscripts, enlisted personnel and officers by rank, reserves, and those serving under UN or OSCE mandates. Major weapons and equipment systems subject to reporting include: battle tanks; armored combat vehicles (armored personnel carriers, armored infantry fighting vehicles, and heavy armament combat vehicles); armored vehicle launched bridges; anti-tank guided missile launchers; self-propelled and towed artillery; aircraft (combat, military transport, and primary trainer aircraft); helicopters (attack, combat support, and military transport helicopters); surface warships; and submarines.
For each type or class of weapon, states are obligated to provide technical data and relevant photographs. The numbers of new weapons or equipment systems entering into service either through national production or as an import are also required to be reported each year.
back to top
The 21st AIAM was held March 1-2, 2011 in Vienna, Austria, to discuss VDOC 99 (now VDOC11) and GEMI, as well as many issues concerning small arms, light weapons (SALW), and man portable air-defense systems (MANPADs). Participating States also presented "food-for-thought" papers on implementing GEMI and other CSBMs. Several participants proposed an amendment to VDOC 99 paragraph 17, on OSCE inspections for clarification regarding military activities giving rise to concern.
The 22nd AIAM was held March 6-7, 2012, in Vienna, Austria. The 22nd AIAM was chaired by Estonia and Finland, and focused on continuing updates to the recently revised Vienna Document, as well as improving the implementation of GEMI and other CSBMs.
The 23rd AIAM is scheduled for March 5-6, 2013, in Vienna, Austria. Working session discussion topics include implementation of GEMI and the VDOC 11 Preamble and Chapters I to XII.