Bulgaria Military - 2023


Military and security forces

Bulgarian Armed Forces (aka Bulgarian Army): Land Forces, Air Force, Navy

Ministry of Interior: General Directorate National Police (GDNP), General Directorate Border Police (GDBP), General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDCOC), Fire Safety and Civil Protection General Directorate, Special Unit for Combating Terrorism (SOBT) (2023)

note: the GDMP includes the Gendarmerie, a special police force with military status deployed to secure important facilities, buildings and infrastructure, to respond to riots, and to counter militant threats

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2023 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2021)

1.6% of GDP (2020)

3.1% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 28,000 active-duty personnel (17,000 Army; 4,000 Navy; 7,000 Air Force) (2022)

note: in 2021, Bulgaria released a 10-year defense plan which called for an active military strength of 43,000

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists primarily of Soviet-era equipment, although in recent years Bulgaria has procured limited amounts of more modern weapons systems from some Western countries (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in 2007; service obligation 6-9 months (2022)

note 1: in 2021, women comprised about 17% of the Bulgarian military's full-time personnel

note 2: in 2020, Bulgaria announced a program to allow every citizen up to the age of 40 to join the armed forces for 6 months of military service in the voluntary reserve

Military - note

Bulgaria became a member of NATO in 2004; Bulgaria conducts its own air policing mission, but because of Russian aggression in the Black Sea region, NATO allies have sent detachments of fighters to augment the Bulgarian Air Force since 2014 (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Bulgaria on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bulgaria 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bulgaria 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.