Consultative Council on National Security Agrees about Need to Overcome Defence Capability Deficits
Sofia, February 15 (BTA) - The Consultative Council on National Security (CCNS) has achieved consensus on the need to overcome capability deficits and develop a modern defence potential in the Bulgarian Armed Forces in the framework of the EU and NATO.
President Rumen Radev broke the news on Tuesday, emerging from a five-hour CCNS meeting which discussed the current risks and threats to Bulgaria's national security and the condition of the country's Armed Forces. The meeting was also attended by Parliament Chair Nikola Minchev, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Defence Minister Stefan Yanev, Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, Chief of Defence Admiral Emil Evtimov, representatives of the parliamentary groups and the security services.
Summing up the results of the meeting, the President said the pace of modernization of the Bulgarian Armed Forces does not match contemporary challenges, and the projects to upgrade the armed services are not implemented in a balanced way. He noted that the implementation of the agreement to acquire eight US F-16 jet fighters for the Air Force has been delayed. The procedure for the acquisition of combat vehicles for the Land Forces has been cancelled, he added.
The CCNS participants rallied around the view that mounting tensions in the Black Sea region, ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Asia, international terrorism and migrant flows pose major challenges to Bulgaria. The countries in the region are allocating ever larger resources to re-arm with new types of weapons and develop innovative defence technologies. The process of acquiring new capabilities and maintaining high-tech armed forces is ever more tangible, the President said.
According to Radev, the CCNS approved several proposals about how to offset existing deficits:
- The government should propose - and the National Assembly is asked to consider - legislative amendments to speed up the procedures for upgrading the individual armed services;
- The government should propose an investment programme to upgrade the individual armed services and should analyze the possibilities to raise public spending on defence to 2 per cent of GDP as soon as possible;
- The government should consider updating the National Plan to Increase Defence Spending until 2024;
- Funding should be secured for the maintenance of defence equipment;
- Delays should be offset and the acquisition of new equipment under effective contracts should be stepped up, the Land Forces modernization project should be launched;
- The government should weigh the possibility to set up a targeted fund for Armed Forces modernization;
- The executive branch should take steps for Bulgaria to become a full member of the NATO Innovation Fund and make full use of its participation in NATO's Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). LN/VE
Photo: BTASource: Sofia