Country Listing

Bulgaria Table of Contents


Armed Services


Observation post in military exercises in Khaskovo District, 1985
Courtesy Sofia Press Agency

In 1991 the three armed services of the BPA were the ground, air and air defense, and naval forces. The ground forces or army clearly was the most important service. In addition, each service had several combat arms and support branches. Some support services, such as the construction or civil defense troops, were not subordinate to a particular armed service. In 1991 the BPA was reducing, restructuring, and modernizing its forces. The Ministry of National Defense announced that, while the air and air defense and naval forces would retain their basic structure, substantial changes in the ground forces were expected.

In 1991 the military had 107,000 personnel, a reduction of more than 45,000 since 1988 (see Military Personnel , this ch.). More than 80 percent were conscripts. In late 1990, the minister of national defense had announced plans for further reductions in 1991, including elimination of one motorized rifle division, one tank brigade, and one air force regiment--a total of 10,000 personnel, 200 T-62 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, and 20 MiG-21 aircraft. The minister also announced that over 500 T-34 tanks held in storage would to be destroyed. The navy planned to decommission five older combat ships in 1991.

At the same time, the minister of national defense stressed a need to restructure the BPA into a more modern, professional, and better trained force. Such a force could be smaller because the new defensive doctrine required fewer forces. Tank and mechanized infantry units were reduced in favor of more antitank, air defense, and other defensive systems. The major problem for the BPA's future development was improving the quality of armaments while reducing their quantity. However, the minister of national defense publicly expressed concern that domestic industries could not produce many types of modern weapons that used new technologies. In the area of personnel, the minister announced plans to modernize military training programs by updating curricula at military educational establishments and making field training and exercises more realistic.

Data as of June 1992