Bulgarian army seeks solution to staff crisis
In a statement to the Bulgarian BTA agency, the ministry said, "Due to the population growth problem and the higher salaries of the private sector, we cannot meet the shortfall of at least 6,000 personnel in the armed forces.".
While the staff shortage in the Bulgarian army was most intense in the land forces, it was stated that one-fifth of the cadres in the army were vacant.
The public's interest in the "Be a Soldier" campaign, which has been carried out by the Ministry of Defense for years, was insufficient.
Only 698 new personnel were recruited in the Bulgarian army in the 2022-2023 period.
Crisis in the armed forces
The Ministry of Defense has been experiencing a permanent staff crisis since 2004, when it became a NATO member, due to the population growth problem that has been going on for years in Bulgaria, the economic crisis, the intense migration abroad, especially the European Union countries, and the political crisis.
General Emil Eftimov, Chief of the General Staff of Bulgaria, in 2022, "It is meaningless to modernize the army without human resources." President Rumen Radev also said that the current staff is overloaded, rather than the lack of staff in the army.
The fighter jet problem in the air force
The approaching the end of the technological life of the Russian-made MiG aircraft, which has an estimated number of 15 in the hands of the Bulgarian Air Force, also poses a problem for national security.
Since the MiGs responsible for protecting the country's airspace could not be maintained, attempts were made to purchase 6 second-hand engines in order to ensure the survival of the Ministry of Defense fleet.
Bulgarian President Radev opposes donating MiGs in Bulgaria to Ukraine in exchange for the purchase of reinforcements from NATO.
The country had paid for 8 F-16 aircraft to replace Russian-made MiGs that will expire in 2025. The first of these planes is expected to be sent to Bulgaria by the USA after 2025.