Chief of Defence annual conference

site.btaDefence Minister: Personnel Shortage Is the Most Complex Issue Facing Bulgarian Armed Forces

Defence Minister: Personnel Shortage Is the Most Complex Issue Facing Bulgarian Armed Forces
Defence Minister: Personnel Shortage Is the Most Complex Issue Facing Bulgarian Armed Forces
Defence Minister Todor Tagarev at the annual conference of the Chief of Defence, Sofia, February 20, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Personnel shortage is the most complex issue facing the Bulgarian Armed Forces, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev said on Tuesday. He was speaking to the press after participating in the first day of the annual conference of the Bulgarian Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Eftimov.

"2023 was a good year for the modernization of the Bulgarian Armed Forces," the Defence Minister said. He mentioned the positive trends in defence since the start of the tenure of the Nikolay Denkov government, such as the increase in the defence budget and the acceleration of modernization projects. "In 2025, this country is expected to receive the first F-16 Block 70 aircraft, complete the first multi-role ship and see the arrival of the first machines in the Stryker family," he said.

The Minister described the analysis presented at the conference as "comprehensive, objective and not very optimistic". "There are some optimistic elements: the increase in the budget and salaries. The problems remain, we have to solve them together," he added.

He also said: "Many NATO member states have increased their defence spending, but the more complex issue is whether there is enough to buy in a short and reasonable timeframe. I expect the Council of Ministers tomorrow to approve my proposal to extend [the deadline for] the  Strategic Defence Review. The problems are very complex. One of them is related to people in defence, another one is related to the defence management system, to see how it can work better and be more adequate to the problems we have to solve today."

The Strategic Defence Review was initially due in February 2024.

Commenting criticism about cumbersome procurement procedures, Tagarev said that the public procurement law is flexible enough when it comes to security and defence procurements. "The only problem I see is with multinational projects for acquisition of certain capabilities. When several countries are contracting, it is clear that they will not follow our procurement law. We will analyze and make legislative proposals, if necessary," he said.

Taking a question from the press, he said that none of the government minister knows for sure that they will keep their office after the government rotation expected in March between Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria and GERB. He added that there is some uncertainty about the rotation and said that he is not worried about what is in store for him.

/NF/

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By 10:40 on 14.04.2024 Today`s news

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