Bulgaria - Land Forces

The bases of today’s Bulgarian army were built with the establishment of the Bulgarian territorial troops after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878. They consisted of: infantry, artillery, cavalry, and engineer formations. This is the prototype of today’s Land Forces, which are the basic type of service of the Bulgarian army, and its task is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of the country, and to protect its territorial integrity in interaction with the other services. The Land Forces include typical units of troops of different branches of services and special troops, prepared to fulfill tasks, both independently, and as a part of multinational operational forces in peace keeping operations.

Land Forces fulfill the following basic missions and tasks:

  • “Defensive” – readiness of the troops to participate in the collective defence of the territory of the country and outside it, and participation in joint operations related to struggle against terrorism;
  • “Support for the international peace and security” – maintains capabilities for participation in peace keeping operations of different nature under the auspices of UN, NATO, EU and other international organizations;
  • “Contribution to the national security in peacetime” – maintains forces and means, which have the ability to support state and local authorities in assisting the population to overcome crises of non-military nature in peacetime.

Deployable Forces are military units in the Armed Forces with high mobility, with high and lower levels of readiness, capable of carrying out missions on the territory of NATO member-states and beyond (accordingly for Article 5 of the Washington Treaty for the former, and operations outside Article 5, in response to crises, for the latter). Deployable Forces also comprise of formations for collective defence, regarding Bulgaria’s commitments and responsibilities as a NATO member. Part of the high readiness formations form the Immediate Action Forces (IAF). The composition of IAF required for the execution of national tasks is determined annually by the Minister of Defence.

In-place Forces are formations of the Armed Forces with limited mobility, higher and lower levels of readiness, contributing to national security in peacetime, countering potential asymmetric threats, capable of conducting operations to defend the territorial integrity of Bulgaria or neighbouring states in the collective security and defence system. They protect the air and sea sovereignty of countries with systems integrated in NATO’s common defence system. The number of high and lower readiness IPF formations is determined by the requirements set in capability planning documents, by developments in the security environment, by the defence tasks and by real means for securing resources.

The Land Forces maintain constant readiness, conduct training and participate in international operations to ensure peace and security and to respond to crises outside the country. The Land Forces execute tasks: in the defence of key infrastructure; to assist the state and local authorities in preparing, supporting and protecting the population, the national economy and the country, so as to respond to crises and overcome related consequences; on arms control and non-proliferation of WMDs, the means and materials for their proliferation; for the application of measures to strengthen trust and security. The Land Forces maintain capabilities for planning and participation in independent and joint operations.

For the completion of the Land Forces’ tasks and to achieve the stated level of ambition, the necessary organisational structure is as follows:

  • Land Forces Command
  • The Centre for Documentary Support
  • Two mechanised brigades
  • ‘Special Operations’ regiment
  • An artillery regiment
  • An engineer regiment
  • A logistics regiment
  • A special mechanised battalion
  • A reconnaissance battalion
  • A CBRN battalion
  • The CIMIC Geographical Information Support and PsyOps battalion
  • A specialists training centre
  • A single basic training centre
  • The ‘Koren’ Training Area
  • A military band
The brigades also comprise of Military Police companies. The HQ element of the Land Forces component is built with the capability to occupy a field control post beyond its permanent disposition, with capabilities for the Commander of the Land Forces to carry out control of subordinate units involved in joint operations, so as to ensure the deployment and combat-readiness of the core of the Land Forces and the logistics support units. The HQ element, together with the forces and resources of the Joint Forces Command, can function as a forward command post for the Joint Forces Command. The Land Forces’ staff forms the HQ element for the control of Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) operations.

The Land Forces are deployed in 17 garrisons, in which a total of about 30 separate military areas are established. At the end of 2014 garrisons will be reduced to 14 and military areas to 28. Infrastructure (mainly buildings and warehouses) no longer needed for the Land Forces is situated mainly in garrisons set for closure (Musachevo, Vratsa and Gorna Oryahovitsa).

The analyses and conclusions regarding the role and placement of the Land Forces in the 10-15 years, conjured 2020-2025, the following vision for their development: as a major branch of the Bulgarian Army’s forces, they are to package, equip, prepare and support deployable land based units capable of participation in a wide spectrum of NATO operations both on and beyond the state’s territory. To complete the tasks assigned to them, the Armed Forces have to build the mandatory capabilities to achieve the relevant level of ambition.

From admissions made for the possibility of the Land Forces to complete one or more planning scenarios simultaneously, the necessary organisational structure was determined in 2010 to be comprised of a commander and headquarters, two brigades, four regiments, two specialised preparations centers; four self-dependent battalions and a training ground. By realising the stated plans for reorganisation and modernisation, the Land Forces will acquire a more flexible structure and the realistically necessary capabilities to participate in present-day operations. One of the major challenges will be the modernisation and rearmament of units with arms and military technology of contemporary standards.

Join the mailing list