Country Listing

Bulgaria Table of Contents



Armed Forces: Included army, air force, and navy; until 1990 under complete control of BCP. Administered in three military districts with president as commander in chief, advised by National Security Council, and chain of command through Ministry of National Defense to General Staff. Commission on National Security provided legislative oversight of national security decisions. In 1990 army had 97,000 active-duty personnel, including 65,000 conscripts; the air force 22,000, of which 16,000 were conscripts; the navy 10,000 active-duty personnel, half of which were conscripts. In 1991 total active-duty personnel reduced to 107,000, over 80 percent of which conscripts. Significant manpower reductions and organizational streamlining continued in 1992.

Major Military Units: In 1990, army organized in eight motor rifle divisions and five tank brigades. Major force structure change in 1991-92, reducing tank and mechanized infantry in favor of defensive systems (antitank, air defense). In 1991 navy, also being downsized, had small diesel submarines, small frigates, corvettes, missile craft, patrol vessels, coastal and inshore minesweepers, administered from Varna with bases at Atiya, Balchik, Burgas, and Sozopol. Air force had three MiG interceptor regiments, two MiG fighter regiments, limited numbers of fighter and other helicopters. Soviet SS-23 missile launchers remained in Bulgaria in 1992.

Military Budget: In 1990 defense expenditures estimated as equivalent of US$1.7 billion, about 3.6 percent of GNP.

Internal Security Forces: Drastic reform of State Security forces undertaken after ouster of Todor Zhivkov in 1989, to end their role as independent state enforcers of social discipline. In 1991 National Service for the Defense of the Constitution charged with identifying subversive or terrorist activities. Ministry of Internal Affairs reorganized, and its domestic and foreign surveillance arms cut deeply and put under strict civilian control in 1991. Power of militia (national police force, formerly chief enforcer of totalitarian rule) greatly reduced in 1990.

Data as of June 1992