Bulgaria's Defense Strategy: Military Training for Security Forces Amidst Staff Shortages

Defense | April 30, 2024, Tuesday // 14:12|  views

In response to ongoing staffing challenges within the Bulgarian army, the caretaker government is exploring alternative solutions, with military training for security personnel emerging as a potential strategy. Minister of Defense Atanas Zapryanov made it clear during a video conference with Bulgarian contingents abroad on the Day of Courage that the return of conscription is not under consideration.

However, Zapryanov emphasized that if recent social measures and a substantial 30% increase in military salaries fail to address the issue of understaffing, the government may resort to mandatory military training for individuals already employed in security-related roles. This could include police officers, court guards, gendarmerie, and others, who would undergo military training to bolster the army's ranks.

In a notable move, the Ministry of Defense is set to appoint a third deputy minister, Ivan Peykov, who will oversee infrastructure projects. This decision reflects the government's commitment to addressing critical areas within the defense sector.

Defense chief Admiral Emil Eftimov assured that despite delays in the modernization of the Graf Ignatievo air base, Bulgaria is well-prepared to receive the new F-16 Block 70 fighters. Eftimov highlighted that key objects at the airbase will be certified by the end of August, facilitating the necessary upgrades to accommodate the incoming aircraft.

While acknowledging that the first F-16s are expected to arrive in April, Minister Zapryanov clarified that they will remain in the USA for training purposes. Bulgarian technicians will undergo training under the guidance of American aviation experts to ensure readiness for the deployment of the new fighters.

The government's proactive measures underscore a commitment to bolstering Bulgaria's defense capabilities amidst staffing challenges and infrastructure upgrades.

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Tags: Bulgaria, military, security, personnel, staffing, F-16


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