by Todor Tagarev

Research Report 14

Sofia, April 2003

© Institute for Security and International Studies, 2003

ISBN 954–9533–17–4











In February 1998 the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet of the Bulgarian Government) with its Decree # 44 approved the ‘Plan for Organisational Development and the Structure of the Armed Forces till the Year 2010’,[1] known as Plan-2010. Only twenty months later, with the exactly same ministers as members of the Cabinet and no changes in the senior military leadership of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, the Government approved radically different plans for defence reform, known as Plan-2004.[2]

This paper explains the seemingly abrupt change in the Bulgarian defence policy since the spring of 1998 with the introduction of a rigorous, albeit at the time rudimentary, defence planning process, solid civilian participation and strict oversight of every stage of the process. Our main thesis is that adequate defence reform plans, and developments in defence in general, result from a defence planning process based on goal-oriented interaction between expert civilians and the military and rigorous political—that is also civilian—control over defence policy. The institutionalisation of such defence planning process presumes relevant normative and organisational changes, as well as adequate qualification of the personnel involved. It may be further facilitated by implementation of information systems and decision support tools. Ultimately, however, the institutionalisation requires organisational culture that not only tolerates, but also encourages differences in opinion and rationality, while promoting cooperative decision- making and individual responsibility for planning and plans implementation.

In the beginning of the 1990s, Bulgaria introduced main legislative requirements for implementation of the democratic principle of civilian control over the armed forces.[3] The first civilian defence ministers did not have considerable expertise in defence matters and were in office for relatively short terms. Therefore, for a number of years, the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces was the primary organisation, if not the only one,[4] thinking how to adapt the military establishment to the post-Cold war realities. Not surprisingly, the process of conceptualisation was not transparent, while politicians and the public wеrе hardly aware of force requirements, levels and structure. Therefore, the evidence regarding Plan 2010 is mostly anecdotal.

It can be assumed that thinking on defence reform started approximately in 1991. In 1992 the Bulgarian Armed Forces made a token transition from ‘army-divisional’ to a ‘corps-brigade’ force structure. This transition on paper was presented by the then defence minister as ‘NATO style defence reform.’ In the following three years the national security debate was focused on the dilemma ‘West vs. East’ (with loud support for the exotic option of neutrality) and the accession to the Partnership for Peace Programme. In 1995 the Cabinet approved a draft Concept for National Security, [5] followed by a Concept for Reforming the Bulgarian Army  [6] till the Year 2010. [7]

If until 1995 the attention of the Bulgarian politicians to defence was marginal, in 1996—the year of the economic crisis—defence was not even on the societal agenda. Thus, for six years since the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the senior military leadership did not come up with a plan how to adapt the national defence to the new strategic environment.

In February 1997, the Provisional Government appointed by President Stoyanov declared the intention of Bulgaria to join NATO. In March the same year the declaration was followed by a Programme for NATO Accession. Approximately one year later the Cabinet approved a top secret plan for reforming the military establishment, known as Plan 2010.

There is no evidence to suggest that civilians, including the defence minister and his deputies, played any substantial role in the preparation of Plan 2010. It is safe to assume that no planning guidance was issued, other than ‘to prepare the armed forces for NATO integration.’ The plan was limited in scope, examining the ‘Bulgarian Army’ per se and leaving untouched Cold War relics such as Construction Troops, Troops of the Ministry of Transportation, Troops of the Committee of Post and Telecommunications, large defence repair factories with military personnel, etc.

Plan 2010 called for downsizing the peacetime personnel of the Bulgarian Army to 75 000 people. However, the sole most influential factor for downsizing was the demographic trend that limited the number of young male Bulgarian citizens potentially available for mandatory conscript service, while the length of the conscript service had been already shortened from 24 to 18 months. Civil authorities did not assess Plan 2010 in essence. It was not constraint by expected resources. To the best of the author’s knowledge, there have been no attempts to cost the plan. Further, it did not envision changes in missions and tasks of the armed forces, preserved the 1992 organisational structure, and called for keeping all major weapon systems in the limits set by the CFE Treaty. [8] For all practical purposes, the planned force structure for 2010 was a somewhat smaller version of the force structure of the Bulgarian Army of the 1980s.

Also around 1994-1996 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) developed another—accompanying—document. Referred to as Programme for rearmament and modernisation of the Bulgarian Armed Forces till 2015, it alone called for more than 20 billion US dollars for rearmament – several times more than any reasonable forecast accounting for fiscal realities.

The governmental approval of Plan 2010 only confirmed the NATO concerns, expressed the previous year by a senior NATO advisor, that ‘there is no Central and Eastern European country that has the effective army it needs and no government that can evaluate what kind of defence it requires, nor what size, nor evaluate the proposals of its generals. [9] Given the explicit governmental programme for NATO accession, the approval of Plan 2010 further proved that the NATO message reached neither the civilian nor the military leadership of the country.

Initial claims that Plan 2010 is adequate to NATO integration requirements were quickly countered by the impartial professional estimate of a seasoned observer of defence policies of Central and Eastern European countries. [10] Dr. Jeffrey Simon from the US Institute for National Strategic Studies concluded that Bulgarian governmental and military officials lack ‘an understanding of how far behind they are, as well as what they need to do, to seek [NATO] integration’. [11]

A follow-up study sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defence found that there is a lack of realism and coherence between budgets and defence plans. Furthermore, the credibility of the relation between plans and budgets is repeatedly undermined since ‘plans, once endorsed, are regularly found to be unaffordable within allocated budgets and … MoD has to adopt a significantly different force posture from that agreed by Parliament in order to meet affordability constraints’. [12] The decision making process by itself was found ‘highly inconsistent and unpredictable’ and there was no mention of a structured and clear defence planning process.

In sum, although defence policy was subject to civilian control in principle, civilians in Parliament and Government lacked sufficient expertise to establish a defence planning process or to assess principal defence planning decisions. Not surprisingly, in lacking civilian control the military acted in a very cautious conservative manner. Also, civilians were not able to undertake their share of responsibility for difficult decisions. There was no relation between the Plan 2010 and the Concept for National Security, approved by the Bulgarian Parliament only one month earlier. The resulting Plan 2010, although a step in the right direction, did not provide reform objectives adequate to national defence and NATO integration requirements.

By the autumn of 1998 the necessity to change defence plans became obvious. Furthermore, there was a growing understanding that Bulgaria needs to establish a modern system for defence planning. [13] In November 1999, the Bulgarian Government made two important decisions in that regard. First, it turned to the US Government for support in the conduct of a comprehensive defence reform study. Secondly, a team of younger, western educated experts with a track record in areas related to defence planning  [14] was appointed at senior civilian positions in the Ministry of Defence. Notably, Dr. Velizar Shalamanov was appointed Deputy-Minister of Defence for Defence Policy and Planning and placed in charge of the defence reform study.

The conduct of the study, which was equivalent to a strategic defence review, was based on two main principles:

  • Civil-military cooperation on working level, with participation commensurate to the available expertise and specific experience;
  • Clear civilian supremacy over milestone decisions.

The objectives and the organisation of the study were elaborated in a governmental decision. [15] Nine Bulgarian-US teams studied all services and branches of the armed forces and made recommendations. A tenth team, comprising civilian and military Bulgarian experts and led by a senior civilian, was tasked with the overall analysis and preparation of the final recommendations from the study. This team rigorously implemented qualitative and quantitative methods for defence and force planning while searching for a model for the Bulgarian armed forces that best addressed the requirements of national security and defence. [16] The planning process was not threat based, but capability based, and searched for a model with the highest possible combat potential within the forecasted resource constraints.

At the first stage, the team designed hypothetical but realistic models of the armed forces with personnel strength from thirty to ninety thousand people, and with 100 percent manning (no mobilisation potential) under currently valid training requirements. The cost and the combat potential  [17] of each model were then estimated. At this stage it was established that, given the forecasted resources, the optimal model of the Bulgarian armed forces, including the formations directly subordinated to the Ministry of Defence, would have peacetime personnel strength of between 45 and 55 thousand people. In the second stage, the team designed twelve models with varying ratios of active duty and reserve personnel, various proportions among the services as well as among the branches within a service, and varying proportions between resources for sustaining and modernization of the armed forces. It was established that the optimum model for performing expected missions was a force with 50,000 military and civilian peacetime personnel in the Ministry of Defence; 45,000 of them in the armed forces.

This model was presented in early March 1999 to a meeting of the Defence Council – the senior consultative body to the Minister of Defence. The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister also participated in the meeting. During the same meeting senior military leaders presented an alternative model with 65,000 peacetime personnel of the armed forces. Military leaders reasoned that this alternative model reflects the ‘minimal force level that fits the strategic security environment’. However, the designers of that model did not even attempt to define the resources necessary to sustain that force structure, nor did they present viable alternatives. After exhaustive debate on interests, risks, scenarios, and resources, the Bulgarian state leaders decided to give their support to the 45,000-model of the armed forces.

Once the most contentious issue of peacetime personnel strength was resolved, the Government approved a draft Military Doctrine and sent it to Parliament. The Bulgarian Military Doctrine is a document that, in US terms for example, is roughly equivalent to a National Security Strategy. In a comprehensive manner, the Doctrine elaborates threats, risks, and challenges to the national security. Taking into account risks on non-military and non-armed nature and potential destabilising effects of conflicts in neighbouring areas, the Doctrine stipulates that the ‘Republic of Bulgaria does not face any immediate military threat’. It defines roles, missions, and tasks of the armed forces, major parameters of the force structure, NATO and EU integration requirements, principles of the Bulgarian participation in the Partnership for Peace Programme and peace support operations, etc. Developed by a joint team of civilian and military experts under the direct supervision of the Deputy Minister for Defence Policy and Planning, the Doctrine further emphasised the ability of the armed forces to shape the strategic environment in the absence of an immediate military threat to the country and stipulated principles for efficient and effective defence management.

The doctrine was adopted by the National Assembly on 8 April 1999. [18] In its article 93 the legislature requested that the Government endorses a plan for comprehensive reorganisation of defence till the year 2004. In implementation of this requirement, a joint civilian-military team in the Ministry of Defence, in coordination with other ministries, designed several transition models. Major parameters of the chosen transition model, as well as the changing structure of the defence budget through 2005 are presented in Figure 1. These parameters served to draft ministerial recommendations for preparation of Plan 2004. The recommendations were authorised by the Minister of Defence in May 1999. [19] Notably, these recommendations included guidance on major organisations in the force structure, personnel limits and resource constraints, while leaving some flexibility to the military in devising the reform plan.

Figure 1: Aggregated capability indicator, personnel limits and budget structure in the reform dynamics

After two iterations of planning by the General Staff and review by the civilian leadership of the MoD, respectively in July and September 1999, the Council of Ministers approved the ‘Plan for Organisational Development of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria till the Year 2004’. One week earlier, the Cabinet approved the ‘Plan for Organisational Development and Restructuring of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria till the Year 2004’. [20]

Plan 2004, even if far from perfect, is widely acclaimed as a very significant step towards adapting the Bulgarian defence establishment to the Post-Cold war security environment. More importantly, the process of elaboration and approval of Plan 2004 set a precedent for Bulgaria in which civilians and the military closely interact in defining objectives, conducting a study, assessing alternative force models, drafting recommendations and planning guidance, supervising planning and assessing the adequacy of proposed plans.

This positive model of civil-military interaction was further strengthened and refined in the conduct of follow-on studies such as the C4 study, [21] a second Bulgarian-UK study, [22] and an air defence study, [23] as well as in preparing the Bulgarian Membership Action Plan, the Annual National Programme for its implementation, etc. [24] In addition, developments in the areas of defence resource management, oversight of plans’ implementation and increased societal participation proved crucial for the establishment of effective defence planning in Bulgaria.

Resource Planning
With the authorisation of Plan 2004 the Cabinet requested that MoD introduces an Integrated System for Planning, Programme Development and Budgeting within the Ministry and the armed forces. The first attempt to introduce programme-based budgeting was made at the end of 1999. The experience gained served in the elaboration of a ‘Concept for a planning, programming, and budgeting system within the MoD and Armed Forces’ and ‘Methodology for development of programmes within MoD and Armed Forces’. The two documents were developed in parallel by a joint team of civilian and military experts. After several phases of meetings, consultations, and discussions for coordination of the positions of main organisations with vested interest, both documents were authorised by the Minister of Defence in May 2000.

The integrated system balances long-term requirements with short-term priorities. The programming phase—the nucleus of the integrated planning system—relates available and forecasted resources to the full spectrum of required capabilities, as well as long-term plans to budget. Defence resources are bound to defence/military capabilities within a six-year programming horizon. Furthermore, it attributes decision-making authority to the responsible and accountable persons and permits higher transparency of the planning process. [25]

This is the main planning system in the MoD. In a comprehensive manner, it encompasses national defence and NATO integration requirements; people, weapon systems and infrastructure; sustaining and modernisation requirements; policy requirements and resource constraints. The Minister of Defence is in charge of its implementation. The Chief of the General Staff (GS) assists the defence minister in establishing priorities and determining how to allocate scarce resource to competing needs. The management framework and supporting processes for implementing the Minister’s and the Chief’s responsibilities for defence planning and resource management is based on an effective and efficient division of labour among the key leaders of the organisation and their supporting staffs and management processes that facilitate integration of effort and senior leader decision-making.

Key role in the management process is allotted to the Programming Council, created in 1999. Chaired by the Deputy Minister responsible for policy and plans, the Programming Council includes the other deputy ministers, the deputies of the Chief of the GS, civilian directors from the MoD administration and flag officers in charge of GS directorates with resource related responsibilities. The role of the Programming Council is to harmonise all programmes at the MoD level through:

  • Management of the programming process;
  • Setting programme priorities;
  • Reviewing the Programming Guidance (PG) and Programme Decision Memoranda (PDM);
  • Recommending PG and PDM for ministerial approval;
  • Coordinating MoD programmes with national programmes;
  • Coordinating national defence programmes and international cooperation programmes.

On a working level, civilians and the military cooperate not only in designing the programmes, but also in a peer review manner. The programme structure on the first level—main programmes—basically reflects current organisational structure of the armed forces, i.e., ‘Land Forces’, ‘Air Forces’, etc., and the respective Chiefs function also as Programme Managers. In addition, a Programme Coordinator, often a civilian from different MoD organisation, coordinates functionally similar second level programmes. For example, the Director of the MoD Armaments Policy Directorate coordinates the development and the implementation of programmes 1.6 ‘Weapons systems and equipment for the Land Forces’; 2.6 ‘Weapons systems and equipment for the Air Force’; 3.6 ‘Weapons systems and equipment for the Navy’; 4.8 ‘Systems and equipment for logistics and medical support’; and 12 ‘C4, Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance (C4ISR) systems’. The Programme Coordinator participates in drafting the respective section of the ministerial Programming Guidance; endorses programme memoranda, drafted by the programme manager’s staff; participates in the programme review process; monitors programme implementation; and endorses the report for the implementation of the respective programme.

Implementation Oversight
The introduction of the planning, programming, and budgeting system was crucial for reengineering the defence planning process. In its initial version, however, there was no sufficient incorporated capability to monitor the implementation process. That situation was remedied with the second version of the planning, programming and budgeting system, introduced in the spring of 2001. [26] Additionally, the in-house oversight of the implementation of plans and programmes is facilitated by two independent auditing and oversight organisations – the Inspector General and the Financial Audit Directorate. The Inspector General of the MoD reports directly to the Minister of Defence and is supported by a number of military and civilian experts in specific areas. The MoD Financial Audit Directorate is staffed exclusively with civilians. It also reports directly to the Minister of Defence on results of performed compliance audits, examinations of internal payment and financial management procedures, as well as the implementation of appropriate payment methods and procedures.

A national level Audit Organisation  [27] also focuses on ensuring that public funds and resources are spent wisely and in accordance with the intended purpose. It provides oversight of results, efficiency, and effectiveness of how funds are expended by the MoD and other organisations.

Of crucial importance was the introduction of requirements for parliamentarian oversight of the implementation of reform plans. The 1998 Concept for National Security and 1997 amendments to the Law on Defence and Armed Forces introduced requirements that each year the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Cabinet, sends to Parliament a Report of the Status of National Security and a Report on the Status of Defence and the Armed Forces. The open debate on these reports proves to be a valuable tool not only for parliamentarian control, but also of raising societal awareness of real problems of defence.

Societal Awareness
In 1999-2001 we witnessed important steps in terms of the broadest understanding of ‘civilian role’ in defence planning, i.e., elaboration of a planning process that accounts for broad societal interests expressed by variety of societal representatives. Specifically, the MoD put significant efforts towards involving societal representatives—media, non-governmental organisations, academia—in the discussions on the Military Doctrine and, particularly, during the development of the White Paper on Defence and the Armed Forces. From the very beginning this effort was organised by the MoD Defence Planning Directorate under the guidance of the Deputy Minister for Defence Policy and Planning.

In April 2000 the MoD Defence Planning Directorate organised a round-table expert- discussion that led to the publication of a volume under the title Defence and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria – Public Debate. The volume covered the full spectrum of issues, related to defence and the military. Importantly, all articles in the volume were authored and often represented contradicting opinions. This publication set a solid basis for focused discussions on the main topics that took place in the year 2001 as follows:

  • Synthesis of the Public Debate on Defence and National Security, 27 February 2001;
  • Development of the defence aspects of the national security policy, 15 March 2001;
  • Military education, research and development, 22 March 2001;
  • Economic aspects of the defence policy. Impact of the national economic potential on force structure, 28 March 2001;
  • Institutional interaction in the defence planning process, 11 April 2001.

The debate was fully open and widely covered by the media. Full texts of the discussions were published on the official Website of the Ministry of Defence with opportunity for feedback. As a result, a second draft of the White Paper was published in July 2001. That draft was also subject to interagency coordination and assessment by the society.

This practice took hold. Under a new government, the MoD organised a public debate of a third draft of the White Paper in February 2002 under the motto: ‘Reforming the armed forces and building defence capabilities, adequate to the challenges, risks and threats of the 21st century’. During this debate five experts from different non-governmental organisations critically reviewed the five chapters of the White Paper. The ensuing debate assisted the MoD in the preparation of the final version of the White Paper, published in October 2002.

The model of defence planning, which is being implemented in Bulgaria since late 1998, is based on (1) goal-oriented, rather than rule-abiding, civil-military cooperation on working expert level where participation is commensurate to the available expertise and specific experience of the players in the defence planning process and (2) clear civilian control over defence policy and planning, including authorisation of all milestone decisions by the respective civilian authority. This statement is valid in regard to:

  • The scope of the planning covering comprehensively personnel, organisational structures, weapon systems, infrastructure, training levels, reserve stocks, etc.; national defence and NATO integration requirements; sustaining and modernisation requirements. For example, the programme structure of the Bulgarian MoD consists of 13 main programmes, that in combination account for every defence activity and the every single penny spent on defence whether it is in the MoD budget or from a different source, i.e., an assistance from another government in a security cooperation programme;
  • The general framework of defence planning, including the definition of national security interests and objectives, strategies to achieve the objectives, thorough definition of missions and tasks of the armed forces, definition of required capabilities, assessment of necessary resources, and assessment of risks associated with a planned force structure. This general framework (in a most simplified way) is presented on figure 2. This process is typically accomplished iteratively to balance required defence capabilities and available budgets;
  • The elaboration of specific plans and programmes through a process of

o       Study with clearly defined objectives, i.e. strategic defence review;

o       Approval of recommendations from the study;

o       Issuing planning/programming guidance;

o       Review and assessment of a set of alternative plans/programmes;

o       Authorisation of a plan/programme;

o       Regular review of the implementation.

Figure 2: General defence planning framework

While Bulgarian experience exhibits variety of interplays of organisational interests, bureaucratic behaviour and politics, it clearly points to the paramount importance of following a rational defence-planning framework with all of the listed features. This conclusion is certainly valid for other countries in transition with limited experience in defence planning in conditions of democratic governance. However, notwithstanding developments in the normative base defining roles of civilians and the military, longer-term developments in defence planning depend on the institutionalisation of the particular model of civil-military relations in a given country. A process of defence planning that is institutionalised, flexible, and transparent may have a crucial role in establishing democratic civil-military relations.

An institutionalised defence planning process should be based on written rules, adequate organisational structures and personnel policy (recruitment, education and training, promotions and rotation of civilians and military defence planners). Regular involvement of senior government officials and Parliament is key for this institutionalisation. From the very beginning of the implementation of the integrated defence resource management system the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence has addressed all major requirements for institutionalisation. A new Defence Planning Directorate was created in May 1999, followed by the establishment of Strategic Planning (J5) Directorate in the General Staff in the spring of 2000. Senior civilian and military officials conducted short-term training courses for the participants in programming and taught a ‘Defence Planning’ course for senior military leaders studying at the ‘National Security and Defence’ Department of the ‘Rakovsky’ Defence and Staff College in Sofia.

The defence planning process has to be sufficiently flexible. While providing continuity of defence policy during change in government or personnel changes, it needs to provide for quick reaction to changes in security environment, new threats and challenges, emerging technologies and changes in military affairs. The Bulgarian system of authorisation of six-year programmes, roll-on programming with yearly reviews, and regular strategic defence reviews (or reviews of force structure) provides continuity and is considered sufficiently flexible.

The defence planning process needs to be as transparent as possible. Defence planning procedures have to be established in a publicly available legislative or governmental act. Furthermore, procedures need to be as simple and clear as possible with no duplication allowing to circumvent main planning processes. Transparent defence planning means also that decision makers are fully aware of stakes and risks associated with each planning decision. Finally, transparent defence planning shall allow an informed representative of the society, i.e., a non-governmental think tank, an opportunity to assess on its own defence policies and plans.

Bulgaria has a modern defence planning process in place, and there is a growing understanding of the roles of civilians and the military in that process. There are opportunities to improve bureaucratic processes and the MoD constantly refines its procedures and practices of defence planning. [28] The most important current challenges in that respect are to improve civil-military interaction in planning and implementation, to improve acquisition planning, to introduce risk management and cost-benefit analyses techniques and to build a cadre of defence planners.

Currently, the civil-military interaction in defence planning decision-making is achieved mostly through the work of the Programming Council and the Defence Council (Figure 3). In particular, the establishment of the Programming Council proved to be instrumental in promoting cooperative decision-making, role sharing and distribution of responsibilities between civilians and the military. Civil-military interaction has been further facilitated by the culture of cooperation among experts in various directorates in MoD and the General Staff. It is expected that the transition to a fully integrated model of the MoD, incorporating a Defence Staff, will advance the efficient and effective interaction of civilian and military defence planners.

Figure 3: Senior councils in the Ministry of Defence

Second important challenge is to provide for coordinated development of organisational structures and procurement of new weapon systems and equipment. Although acquisition programmes are part of the programming structure, the MoD finds it difficult to elaborate adequate acquisition objectives and priorities, to cost procurements, especially accounting for the life cycle cost of new weapon systems, and to schedule procurements so that there is minimal risk for the whole programme. To meet this challenge the MoD works on the elaboration of a new acquisition system and the implementation of NATO compatible system for procurement. [29] Key in terms of clarifying roles of civilians and military in the process was the establishment of a Modernisation Council in 2001, combined with the introduction of a Defence/Operational Capabilities Council that is still pending. The main tasks of these councils are listed on Figure 3. The same figure presents a number of additional expert councils and committees, where civilians and military already work together using their specific expertise to prepare adequate acquisition decisions.

A particular challenge is related to the introduction of risk assessment methodologies, techniques and tools. Proper assessment of the risk associated with each policy option and the related force structure proved to be crucial in making every important decision in the defence planning process. Debate should be based not only on what a defence planner feels, but rather on a rigorous and structured approach to risk assessment, using the respective expertise of civilian and military planners.

Similarly, it is very important to introduce more rigorous approach towards cost benefit analysis both in the Ministry of Defence and outside organisation such as the National Audit Office or non-governmental think tanks. The capability of the Audit Office to perform ‘value for money’ analyses in defence, in a way similar to the UK National Audit Office and the US Government Accounting Office or Congressional Budget Office, may be improved through temporary assignments of a few experienced military personnel. Alternatively, non-governmental think tanks with proper expertise may be tasked by Parliament and/or Government to provide independent assessments on specific issues, i.e., proposed defence budgets; major procurement cases; specific plans and programmes, as well as to assess reports for their implementation. Some form of competition among MoD, other governmental or parliamentarian agencies, and NGOs in assessing defence planning options may be quite healthy for the promotion of transparency, accountability and, as a result, more effective defence planning.

The final challenge in our analysis relates to education of civilian and military defence planners. Sort-term training courses proved to be useful to prepare MoD personnel to implement particular procedures and planning requirements, i.e., how to draft a Programme Memorandum. However, a more formal education is required both for the military and the civilians involved in defence planning. Key in this respect is the building of a civilian cadre of defence planners.

In conclusion, this paper presents a brief summary of the major achievements of Bulgaria in establishing a modern defence planning system adequate to the democratic political system. The focus is on the difference and on the complementary roles civilians and military play in defence planning. The look is not on the details; instead, we take a more remote look at the Bulgarian experience and achievements, as well on the major challenges Bulgaria still faces to establish smoother professional civil-military cooperation and effective civilian control over defence planning. This is a complex process with a number of interrelated issues. There are no magic, one-step solutions. Fortunately, improvements in one of the issues influence positively the whole process and trigger developments in other defence planning areas.

Bulgaria already has a solidly established defence planning system. Refining this process on the basis of the experience gained will further improve defence and armed forces in the interests of the people of Bulgaria and the effective Bulgarian contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security.

odor TAGAREV is Director Programmes of the Centre for National Security and Defence Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He was the first Director of the Defence Planning Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence since its establishment in early 1999. Since May 2001 until late 2001, he served as Director for Armaments Policy and National Armaments Director. He graduated from the Bulgarian Air Force Academy in 1982 with M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering and received a PhD degree in systems and control from Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy, Moscow, in 1989. Dr. Tagarev is a 1994 Distinguished Graduate of the US Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and a 1994 Distinguished Young AFCEAn. He is Editor of Information & Security: An International Journal <>. Dr. Tagarev specialises in the integration of information technology with security and defence policy, system analysis, computer modelling and prediction of complex processes. Dr.Tagarev is an ISIS senior associate. E-mail:

The Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS) is a non-governmental non-profit organisation, established legally in November 1994. It organises and supports research in the field of security and international relations. Fields of research interest are: national security and foreign policy of Bulgaria; civil-military relations, democratic control of the armed forces and security sector reform; European Integration, Euro-Atlantic security and institutions; Balkan and Black Sea regional security; global and regional studies; policy of the USA, Russia and the CIS; information aspects of security and information warfare; quantitative methods and computer simulation of security studies; theory and practice of international negotiations. ISIS organises individual and team studies; publishes research studies and research reports; organises conferences, seminars, lectures and courses; develops an information bank and virtual library through the Internet; supports younger researchers of security; and develops independent expertise in security and international relations for Bulgarian civil society.

The institute networks internationally and establishes links with academic organisations and official institutions in the country and abroad on a contract basis. ISIS is not linked to any political party, movement, organisation, religious or ideological denomination. The institute has a flexible group of voluntary associates – five senior research fellows, eight PhD holders and five MAs – varying annually between 8 and 13 in all.


Research Studies:

"Bulgaria and the Balkans in the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Venelin Tsachevsky), 44 pp., July, 1995. Research Study 1. In Bulgarian and English.

"Problems of Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria: Approaches to Improving the Civilian Monitoring of the Armed Forces" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Todor Tagarev), 96 pp., April, 1996. Research Studies – 2. In Bulgarian.

"Bulgaria and the European Union in the Process of Building a Common European Defence" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tilcho Ivanov), 51 pp., September 1996. Research Studies – 3. In Bulgarian and English.

"Strengthening of the Balkan Civil Society: the Role of the NGOs in International Negotiations" (Plamen Pantev), 24 pp. ,March 1997. Research Studies – 4. In Bulgarian and English.

“The New National Security Environment and Its Impact on the Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria” (Plamen Pantev), 50 pp., May 1997. Research Studies – 5. In English.

“Prenegotiations: the Theory and How to Apply it to Balkan Issues” (Plamen Pantev), 24 pp., October 1998. Research Studies – 6. In English.

“Balkan Regional Profile: The Security Situation and the Region-Building Evolution of South-Eastern Europe” (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova), 17 pp., April 1999. Research Studies – 7. In English (only an electronic version).

“Black Sea Basin Regional Profile: The Security Situation and the Region-Building Opportunities” (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova), 17 pp., April 1999. Research Studies – 8. In English (only an electronic version).

“Security Risks and Instabilities in Southeastern Europe: Recommended Strategies to the EU in the Process of Differentiated Integration of the Region by the Union” (Plamen Pantev), 36 pp., November 2000. Research Studies – 9. In English (only an electronic version).

Research Reports:

"The Balkans in the Cooling Relations Between Russia and Western Europe" (Dinko Dinkov), 29 pp., November 1995. Research Reports-1. In Bulgarian.

"The Political Dialogue Between the European Union and the Central and Eastern European Countries" (Vladimir Nachev), 15 pp., November 1995. Research Reports- 2. In Bulgarian.

"The Bulgarian Foreign Policy in the Post-Conflict Period: Tendencies, Roles, Recommendations" (Plamen Pantev, Valeri Rachev, Venelin Tsachevsky, Tatiana Houbenova-Delisivkova, Dinko Dinkov), 35 pp., November 1995. Research Reports-3. In Bulgarian.

"The Bulgarian Military Education at a Crossroads" (Todor Tagarev), 29 pp., September 1996, Research Reports-4. In English.

"An International Methodology for Evaluation of Combat Capabilities of Military Systems: the Bulgarian Perspective of Greater Transparency and Confidence" (Volodya Kotsev), 13 pp., October 1996, Research Reports-5. In English.

"Confidence and Security in the Balkans: the Role of Transparency in Defence Budgeting" (Tilcho Kolev), 22 pp., November 1996, Research Reports-6. In English.

"NATO Enlargement: Two Looks from Outside" (Laszlo Nagy, Valeri Ratchev), 82 pp., February 1997, Research Reports-7. In English.

“Bulgaria and NATO: 7 Lost Years” (Jeffrey Simon), Translation from English into Bulgarian from “Strategic Forum” 142, May 1998, 15 pp., November 1998, Research Reports – 8. In Bulgarian.

“Reengineering Defense Planning in Bulgaria” (Velizar Shalamanov, Todor Tagarev), 28 pp., December 1998, Research Reports – 9. In English.

“Peacekeeping and Intervention in the Former Yugoslavia: Broader Implications of the Regional Case” (Plamen Pantev), 17 pp., November 1999, Research Reports – 10. In English.

“The Emergence of a New Geopolitical Region in Eurasia: The Volga-Urals Region and its Implications for Bulgarian Foreign and Security Policy” (Nikolay Pavlov), 23 pp., December 2000, Research Reports - 11. In English.

„Regional Identity in the Post-Cold War Balkans“ (Dimitar Bechev), 22 pp., August 2001, Research Reports – 12. In English.

„The Balkans and the Caucasus: Conceptual Stepping Stones of the Formation of a New Single Geoeconomic, Geopolitical and Geostrategic Region” (Plamen Pantev), 8 pp., November 2002, Research Reports – 13. In English.

Note: All publications in English have electronic versions at the Institute’s website hosted by the International Security Network (ISN):

ISIS Address

1618 Sofia, lc “Krasno selo”, bl. 194 , ent. B, ap. 36

P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria

Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828

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[1] Plan for Organisational Development and the Structure of the Armed Forces till the Year 2010, Governmental Decree # 44, State Gazette, no. 22 (24 February 1998).

[2] The two plans are ‘Plan for Organisational Development and Restructuring of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria till the Year 2004’, Decree # 199, October 1999, and ‘Plan for Organisational Development of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria till the Year 2004’, Decree # 200, November 1999, State Gazette, no. 98 (1999).

[3] For details the reader may refer to P. Pantev, V. Ratchev and T. Tagarev, ‘Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria: Aspects, Factors, Problems’, in P. Pantev (ed.) Civil-Military Relations in South-East Europe: National Perspectives and PfP Standards (Vienna, Institut für Internationale Friedenssicherung, 2001), 31-62; and by the same authors Specific Problems of the Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria during the Transitional Political Period (Sofia, Institute for Security and International Studies, 1996; in Bulgarian).

[4] With the possible exception of the Military Cabinet of President Zh. Zhelev - President of the Republic of Bulgarian from 1990 till 1996.

[5] Concept for National Security of the Republic of Bulgaria, Draft (Sofia: Council of Ministers, 1995). The draft was never debated in Parliament.

[6] The term ‘Army’ at that time covered the three services, military schools, the military intelligence, etc., as subset of the ‘Armed Forces’ that additionally included Construction Troops, Troops of the Ministry of Transportation, Troops of the Committee of Post and Telecommunications.

[7] ‘Concept for Reforming the Bulgarian Army till the Year 2010’, Decree # 216, State Gazette, no. 103 (1995). The document was classified and thus – not accessible by the public.

[8] CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) Treaty designed to reflect the Cold War realities in Europe.

[9] C. Donnelly, ‘Defence Transformation in the New Democracies: A Framework for Tackling the Problem’, NATO Review 45:1 (1997), 15-19, < 1997/9701-4.htm> (14 July 2002).

[10] J. Simon, ‘Bulgaria and NATO: 7 Lost Years’, Strategic Forum 142 (Washington, DC: INSS, National Defense University, May 1998), < forum142.html>

[11] The Government was astonished to such extent that initial translations of Dr. Simon’s article were classified. Then non-governmental organisations, i.e., the Institute for Security and International Studies in Sofia, played an important role by translating and making the article available to the general public. See for example the publication in Information & Security: An InternationalJournal 1:2 (Fall/Winter 1998), 93:104, <> (15 July 2002).

[12] Parliamentary Oversight and Democratic Control of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and MoD, Final Report, Study No. 3/98 (Directorate of Consultancy and Management Services, UK MoD, 5 October 1998), 23, <> (23 July 2000).

[13] V. Shalamanov and T. Tagarev, Reengineering the Defense Planning in Bulgaria, Research Report 9 (Sofia: Institute for Security and International Studies, December 1998), <> (11 July 2002).

[14]At that time there were no ‘defence planning experts’ in Bulgaria.

[15]Decision of the Council of Ministers, Protocol # 2/24 (14 January 1999).

[16]For details refer to D. Totev and P. Roussanov, ‘Implementing the Defense Resource Management Model (DRMM) in the Development of the New Bulgarian Military Doctrine and The Plan for Organizational Structure and Development of the MoD by the Year 2004’, CD-ROM Proceedings, Applications of Operations Analysis Techniques to Defense Issues (Garmish, Germany: George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies, 14-17 March 2000).

[17]Indicator of combat capability accounting for manning, equipment and training levels, as well as for characteristics of major weapon systems. It was estimated using the Defence Resource Management Model (DRMM) – US model adapted to Bulgarian needs in 1995-1996.

[18] Military Doctrine of the Republic of Bulgaria, approved by the 38th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria on April 8, 1999. Amended in February 2002 to reflect more rigorously the terrorist threat, <> (11 May 2002).

[19] Recommendations for the Development of the Plan for Organizational Evolution of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces until the year 2004 (Sofia, Bulgaria: Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria, May 1999).

[20] The two plans in combination are often referred to as Plan 2004. Later decision-makers realised that the separation of the reform plan in two parts was counterproductive.

[21] Bulgaria C4 Study Final Report (Hanscom AFB, Mass.: USAF Electronic Systems Center, January 2000); Main Recommendations for the development of C4I Systems (Sofia, Bulgaria: Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria, May 2000).

[22] Review of the Organisation and management Structure of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence and General Staff, MoD, DMCS, Study No. 36/99, <> (5 August 2000).

[23] Conducted jointly with NATO. Finalized in 2001.

[24] For details the reader may refer to Lessons Learned and the Enhancement of the Membership Action Plan, Proceedings of the Second International Conference (Sofia: 28-29 May 2001) and in particular the concluding chapter by V. Shalamanov, 151-156.

[25] For details refer to D. Totev, ‘Bulgarian Defence Resource Management System - Vehicle for Transparency in Defence Planning and Budgeting’, in T. Tagarev (ed.), Transparency in Defence Policy, Military Budgeting and Procurement (Sofia: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and George C. Marshall - Bulgaria, 2002), 71-84.

[26] Lessons learned from that period and consequent improvements are described in detail by D. Totev, ‘Bulgarian Defence Resource Management System’.

[27] Organisation, working for the Bulgarian Parliament. Its name may be translated from Bulgarian also as ‘Audit Chamber’.

[28] The assistance of representatives of the US Institute for Defense Analyses is gratefully acknowledged.

[29] Details are available in T. Tagarev, ‘Prerequisites and Approaches to Force Modernization in a Transition Period’, Information & Security: An International Journal 6 (2001), 30-52, < f4/f4_index.htm> (12 March 2002).


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