Bulgaria Table of Contents
A strong emphasis on civil defense resulted from Bulgaria's participation in the Warsaw Pact and the BCP's efforts to mobilize the population. The civil defense program developed in the 1960s from the recognition that nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons delivered by long-range missiles and artillery ended the clear distinction between the front lines and civilian areas. Planning for civil defense was intended to meliorate the worst effects of weapons of mass destruction and to ensure continuity in communications, transportation, supply, and power generation during wartime.
The Ministry of National Defense operated the National Radiation and Chemical Defense Warning System and planned the overall direction and financing of civil defense activities. Civil defense committees attached to people's councils at the province or municipality level implemented civil defense plans for those jurisdictions. Civil defense organizations in manufacturing plants, enterprises, schools, and other collectives had similar civil defense responsibilities. Staffed with conscripts and organized into battalions, the civil defense troops trained the civilian population in individual and collective defensive measures including dispersal and evacuation. They maintained firefighting, decontamination, civil engineering, salvage, rescue, and medical assistance programs and skills needed for the civil defense program. Despite these preparations for civil defense, construction of protective shelters for the population was a relatively low priority, primarily because of economic constraints. A network of hardened command posts for the military and civilian leadership was believed to exist.
Data as of June 1992