Washington: The US and Bulgaria are Stable Partners in the Field of Security

Politics » DEFENSE | November 2, 2022, Wednesday // 09:25
Bulgaria: Washington: The US and Bulgaria are Stable Partners in the Field of Security @Ministry of Defense

For more than 15 years, the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria have enjoyed a stable security partnership as treaty allies, with a shared commitment to the security of the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Black Sea region. The United States works closely with Bulgaria on security both bilaterally and through regional and multinational organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This is stated in a State Department report on security cooperation between the United States and Bulgaria, published on the department's official website.

Over the past five years, the U.S. has provided Bulgaria with over $238 million in security assistance to enhance military professionalization, human resource capacity, cyber security, divestiture of Soviet and Russian equipment, maritime domain awareness, and NATO interoperability. At the forefront of the US-Bulgaria security partnership is the 2006 bilateral defense cooperation agreement, which gives the US military access to and joint use of several Bulgarian military facilities, such as the Novo Selo training range and enables joint training between the American and Bulgarian armies. In addition, the 10-year roadmap for defense cooperation, signed in 2020, establishes a framework for the continuous development of Bulgaria's military readiness and capabilities through sustainable defense cooperation, is written in the document.

With the purchase of eight F-16 fighter jets, Bulgaria's defense spending rises to over 3% of GDP in fiscal 2019. Bulgaria's annual defense spending continues to increase and is on track to meet NATO's goal of 2% by 2024 .Bulgaria is a participant in the US-led Black Sea Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) project along with Romania, Ukraine and Georgia and has received $30 million in funding so far. In addition, from FY 2017 to FY 2021, the department has allocated more than $55 million to enhance Bulgaria's military intelligence, communications security and defense cyber security capabilities. The Defense Department's Integrated Senior Cybersecurity Advisor, funded by the State Department, contributes to these efforts.

From 2017 to 2022, the ministry also provided more than $11.2 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds for Bulgarian military personnel to participate in professional military education and technical courses training alongside their American counterparts. Since 1992, 5,395 Bulgarian security forces have received formal US training, including 1,346 through the IMET program.

The United States has completed intergovernmental transactions with Bulgaria worth $1.4 billion under the Foreign Military Sales System (FMS). The recent sale of F-16 fighter jets will provide Bulgaria with a fleet of modern multi-role combat aircraft, support Bulgaria's ability to defend its airspace, strengthen regional security and increase the interoperability of the Bulgarian Air Force with the US and NATO.

From FY 2019 through FY 2021, the United States authorized over $28.8 million worth of continued exports of defense products to Bulgaria through Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The most important DCS categories for Bulgaria are aircraft and related products ($5.2 million); ammunition and shells ($4.4 million); and firearms and related articles ($2.4 million).

In 2020, the State Department and the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the United States provided $2 million in conventional weapons destruction (CWD) funding to help Bulgaria destroy its remaining cluster munitions and to support physical security and stockpile management efforts. Since 2006, the United States has invested over 12.5 million in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria participates in numerous bilateral and multilateral military exercises with the USA, including the series Defender, Combined Resolve, Thracian Viper and other joint American-Bulgarian exercises. In 2021, 127 military engagements were held between Bulgaria and the US with more than 1,500 Bulgarian participants, and more than 1,300 Bulgarian military personnel participated in 9 US-sponsored exercises. These commitments contributed to making Bulgaria a more capable ally and to increasing regional defense cooperation.

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