The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense stated that there is a shortage of approximately 6 thousand personnel in the armed forces, which should include 30 thousand personnel, and it is difficult to close this shortage.
In a statement issued by the ministry to the Bulgarian BTA agency, “Due to the problem of population growth and high private sector salaries, we cannot meet the shortage of at least 6,000 personnel in the armed forces.” expression was used.
While the shortage of staffs in the Bulgarian army was more acute in the ground forces, it was reported that one-fifth of the cadres in the army were vacant.
Public interest in the “Be a Soldier” campaign that the Ministry of Defense has been implementing for years has not been enough.
Only 698 new personnel were conscripted into the Bulgarian Army from 2022 to 2023.
crisis in the armed forces
The Ministry of Defense has been suffering from a permanent personnel crisis since 2004, when it became a member of NATO, due to the years-long problem of population growth in Bulgaria, the economic crisis, massive immigration abroad, especially to European Union countries, and the political crisis.
“Without human resources, it makes no sense to go to modernize the army,” said the Chief of the Bulgarian General Staff, General Emil Evtimov, in 2022. President Rumin Radev also said that the current staff is overburdened and not understaffed in the army.
The problem of combat aircraft in the Air Force
The approaching end of the technological life of the Russian-made MiGs, of which an estimated 15 are in the hands of the Bulgarian Air Force, is also a national security problem.
Since the MiGs responsible for protecting the country’s airspace could not be maintained, attempts were made to purchase 6 used engines in order to ensure the survival of the Ministry of Defense’s fleet.
Bulgarian President Radev opposes the donation of MiGs in Bulgaria to Ukraine in return for the purchase of reinforcements from NATO.
The country had paid for 8 F-16s to replace the Russian-made MiGs that will expire in 2025. The US is expected to send the first of these aircraft to Bulgaria after 2025.
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