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


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

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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