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Bulgaria: Armed Services
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Defense Organization > Armed Services


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. 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

Last Updated: June 1992

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bulgaria was first published in 1992. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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