site.btaUPDATED President Radev Attends 4th National Convention of Armed Forces Reserve

President Radev Attends 4th National Convention of Armed Forces Reserve
President Radev Attends 4th National Convention of Armed Forces Reserve
President Radev in Stara Zagora, June 14 (BTA Photo)

Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev, who is also Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, on Friday attending in the 4th National Convention of the Armed Forces Reserve, which took place here under his auspices on June 13 and 14. The event was organized by the Reserve Officers and Noncommissioned Officers Union (RONU) and by the Central Office of Military Districts.

The Convention was opened by the RONU President, General Zlatan Stoykov (Ret.), former Chief of Staff of the Bulgarian Army. 

In a greetings address at the opening the Convention, the President described RONU as an organization enjoying high public trust, "a non-political organization that holds an extremely important place for the development of defence capabilities and guaranteeing the country's national security."

Radev stressed the need to hold a debate on providing young people in Bulgaria with at least basic military training, which would help address the ever growing alienation between society and the military. The head of State recalled that every Bulgarian home used to have some spiritual link to the armed forces, whereas now, nearly 20 years after the abolition of conscription, this is no longer the case. He noted that before long people who have had anything to do with the military will be very few at the National Assembly, but they make important decisions on the country's national security. In his words, given the present lack of conscription, RONU can effectively help in the process of teaching the young generation basic military knowledge and skills.

"We see our allies of many NATO countries bringing back conscription, so I welcome it," the President said, adding: "This is the debate of our time, we must somehow provide at least some basic initial military training for young people in Bulgaria".

"We cannot ignore the great challenge of our time: war and peace. Because the war in Ukraine brought them back to reality and showed us that whatever technologies and weapons are developed, the human factor remains the most important one, and the major challenge today on the front is not so much the lack of weapons and ammunition as the available personnel in terms of numerical strength, training and motivation," said the head of State. He stressed the immense importance of the operation of the mobilization reserve in Bulgaria.

Personnel shortfalls have been a chronic problem for Bulgaria's military since the abolition of conscription in December 2007.

Conscription was phased out, starting in February 1996, and the armed forces were fully professionalized by the end of 2007 (two years earlier than initially planned).
Advocates of keeping compulsory military service (when it was abolished) and of reintroducing it (since then) argue that career soldiers enlist only when they are unable to find a better paid job, they are unmotivated, of low morale, and bring a nine-to-five mentality to the profession. The pro-conscription camp insists that with the conflicts flaring up around Bulgaria, an adequately manned army is essential. They also argue that patriotism and a sense of duty, responsibility and discipline can thus be instilled in young people as they are initiated into adulthood. Opponents note that reintroducing national service is both impossible and unnecessary, as the public purse cannot afford the cost of conscripts' upkeep, they are used for extrinsic assignments, and the ineffective training they get results in an inadequate fighting ability. Moreover, young Bulgarians lack a strong national feeling and political maturity that are needed for compulsory service. In addition, 35-40% of the 45,000-50,000 potential conscript pool proves to be medically unfit for service.

/DT/

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By 12:52 on 21.07.2024 Today`s news

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