The Military of Bulgaria, officially the Bulgarian Army (Bulgarian: Българска армия) represents the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Commander-in-Chief is the President of Bulgaria (currently Rosen Plevneliev). The Ministry of Defence is in charge of political leadership while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff. There are three main branches – the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
Throughout history, the army has played a major role in defending the country's sovereignty. Only several years after its liberation (1878), Bulgaria became a regional military power and was involved in several major wars – Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), First Balkan War (1912–13), Second Balkan War (1913), First World War (1915–1918) and Second World War (1941–1944), during which the Army gained significant combat experience. During the Cold War the People's Republic of Bulgaria maintained one of the largest militaries in the Warsaw Pact, numbering an estimated 152,000 troops in 1988. Since the Fall of Communism, the country's political leadership decided to pursue a pro-NATO policy, thus reducing military personnel and weaponry. Bulgaria joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004, and currently maintains a total 776 deployed troops in three countries.
The patron saint of the Bulgarian Army is St. George. The Army day or St. George's Day (6 May) is an official holiday in the country.
Famous quotes containing the word military:
“War both needs and generates certain virtues; not the highest, but what may be called the preliminary virtues, as valour, veracity, the spirit of obedience, the habit of discipline. Any of these, and of others like them, when possessed by a nation, and no matter how generated, will give them a military advantage, and make them more likely to stay in the race of nations.”
—Walter Bagehot (18261877)