Bulgaria - Joint Operations Command

The Joint Operational Command (JOC) is a formation of the Bulgarian Army directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence. It is a structure tasked to plan and conduct operations within the territory of the country and outside it, and to carry out command and management on operational level in its capacity as a body responsible for the application of interoperability principle.

Functions and tasks

  • develops operational action plans of the Armed forces, both in peacetime, and at times of war;
  • plans and manages operations within the territory of the country, and is responsible for exercising national control over the Armed Forces when they participate in operations outside the territory of the country;
  • conducts the joint preparation of the Bulgarian Army;
  • coordinates the participation of the Bulgarian Army in joint preparation with the forces of NATO Allies and the EU member states;
  • is responsible for collecting, analyzing and summarizing the experience of the Armed Forces’ participation in missions, operations, exercises and training in order to apply it to the preparation of the troops;
  • plans, organizes and coordinates the logistic provision and the communication-information support of the additional formations of the Armed Forces participating in the full spectrum of operations.

The JFC is a functionally integrated structure at the operational level of command & control of the Bulgarian Army, which executes the full range of missions of the Armed Forces of Bulgaria. In this structure, the dominant feature is ‘jointness’5. The commanders of the Armed Forces’ services are subordinate to the Commander Joint Force Command. The Commander of the Joint Force Command executes the command and operational control of directly subordinate military units and the command of the Bulgarian Armed Forces’ military formations in joint operations.

Compatibility and functional integration at the operational level allows for the optimisation of human resources and of the organisational-establishment of the services’ headquarters (HQs). The Joint Force Command integrates and implements only those functions and activities that are common to all three commands - joint intelligence, joint operations, joint logistics, communication and information support.

Organisationally, the Joint Force Command consists of a Commander of the JFC with the HQ and units directly subordinate to the Commander of the Joint Force Command. The formations directly subordinate to the Commander of the JFC are:

  • The ‘Logistics’ Brigade.
  • The HQ for movement control.
  • A Mobile Communications and Information System (CIS).
  • Centre for Documentary Support.
  • Military Command Centre (MCC).
  • Centre for Security. - Monitoring and Control Centre for CBRN.
  • The ‘Charalitsa’ National Military Training Complex (NMTC).
  • The operational archive of the Bulgarian Army.
  • The ‘Novo Selo’ Training Area.
The Commander of the JFC and the Commanders of the Land Forces, Air Force and Navy, supported by HQs, form a functionally integrated structure with clearly defined functions and responsibilities. In this structure, the dominant feature is ‘jointness’. The Commanders of the Armed Forces are subordinated to the Commander of the JFC. At the HQ of the JFC capabilities are maintained for organising and managing the processes of subordinate structures, in particular:
  • The management of daily activities, collection of data on the situation and the conditions of the troops and forces of the Bulgarian Army; the training of subordinate command, troops and forces; the maintenance of combat and mobilisation readiness; operational management of on-duty forces and assets; and the deployment of contingents outside the country and their management.
  • The planning, preparation and conduct of joint operations for crisis-response at the operational command & control level, in accordance with strategic guidelines, with developed plans and the strategic concepts for the use of the Armed Forces.
  • Maintaining a permanently operational operations centre (OC) to support to the on-duty personnel in the ministries, the agencies and in the Armed Forces in the administrative management of the contingents outside the country and in the operational management of rescue efforts and resources in peacetime. Also, maintaining the possibility of the OC to redeploy as a command post for the operational management of subordinate forces and for conducting operations in response to crises (until getting into defended posts, if it be decided to maintain such in time of war).
By the end of the Cold War all military commands reported to the General Staff. The country was divided into three military districts. Daily military administration, however, was performed at the level of military regions corresponding to the eight provinces and the city of Sofia Besides two communications brigades and the usual service and support battalions, the General Staff controlled several other organizations including a military scientific research institute, military history institute, military mapping and topography institutes, the Georgi Rakovski Military Academy, the Military Medical Academy, and the military medical infrastructure throughout the country.

The commanders of the ground, air, and naval forces were deputy ministers of national defense controlling separate service commands within the Ministry of National Defense. The service commands were concerned primarily with training and maintaining combat readiness in their units. Other deputy ministers of national defense included the chief of weapons and military equipment, the chief of the Material-Technical and Rear Support Command, and the chief of civil defense. Other elements reporting to the minister of national defense included the office of the inspector general, the departments of personnel, military education, medical services, international relations, military counterintelligence, military justice and procuracy, cultural institutions, and public information, and the radiation and chemical detection command post.

The International Relations Department maintained contacts with foreign military establishments and their attaches in Bulgaria. The Cultural Institutions Department was responsible for several military museums, officers' clubs, theaters, cinema and art studios, and the BPA performing ensemble. The Public Information Department managed the press center, military publishing house, nine military newspapers and journals, and television and radio programs for the Ministry of National Defense.

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