The New National Security Environment and its Impact on the Civilic-Military Relations in Bulgaria


Reserch Study, No. 5

© Institute for Security and International Studies, 1997


This study was carried out with the support of the support of the NATO Reserach Fellows HIPS Programm (1995-1997)





1. Internal Changes
2. National Security and Foreign-Political Re-orientation
3. Shaping of a New National Security Concept and Decision-Ma king System





Civil-military relations as one of the indicators and factors for the consolidat ion of democracy in the national and international societies are undergoing deep - in some cases, or more gradual changes - in others. The absence of a univers al theory of how the relations between civil society and its military should loo k like is no reason to neglect the various sources of transformation in the civi l-military relations' field:

First, the changing mission of the democratic military in the post-Cold War era;

Second, the high-tech and especially the infotech revolutions that change largel y the roles of the military profession and its missions;

Third, the social processes of the less developed South, or the so called "third " or "developing world" and,

Fourth, the democratic transitions in the postcommunist or rather post-totalitar ian socialist world.

Bulgaria is subjected to deep systemic social changes as a former totalitarian s ocialist society and state. At the same time the post-Cold War global, regional and sub-regional security situation strongly, and in some cases even decisively , motivates the national security and the more general social transformations an d adaptations. Bulgarian society and its military component cannot be isolated from the revolutionary technological and especially information technological ch anges - another major factor of understanding the complexity of the present situ ation in this country and in its armed forces.

The Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS) has earned its name and role of a center of bringing together civilian and military expertise on Bul garian national security issues, including on civil-military relations. The Ins titute and the author of this Research Study are particularly grateful to the No rth Atlantic Treaty Organisation's Selection Committee, nominated by the Allianc e member nations, the "Democratic Institutions Fellowships" Program, the Directo r of Information and Press, Mr. Chris Prebensen, the Academic Affairs Officer at the Office of Information and Press, Dr. Spyros C. Philippas, Mr. Chris Scheurw eghs, NATO Centralized Media Service, Dr. Marco Carnovale, Political Affairs Div ision, Mr. Chris Donnelly, NATO's Special Adviser for Central and East-European Affairs and his staff, for either being organizationally, financially or concep tually helpful in carrying out and completing the research.

We are also grateful to the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Roma and especially to Dr. Maurizio Cremasco and Dr. Stefano Silvestri for the instructive ideas and support of this research. The same words are expressed to General Giuseppe Cuc hi, Director of CeMiSS, Roma.

ISIS and the author of this Study wish to thank Dr. Ognyan Avramov, Legal Advise r and later Head of the administrative staff of the former President of the Repu blic of Bulgaria and to the Center for National Security Studies at the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria for their cooperation in the process of implementing the project.

Of course, all the responsibility for the judgments, opinions and conclusions is entirely of the author of the Research Study in his capacity of an Associate of the Institute for Security and International Studies.


A basic concept of the present Study is that the most direct influences of the n ew national security environment on the present and future state of the civil-mi litary relations in Bulgaria may be defined most generally through the four sour ces of change in the field of this specific relationship on a global scale: 1) the new mission of the democratic military in the post-Cold War era;2) the techn ological and especially the information technological revolution in the military profession; 3) the social systemic changes in the developing world, and 4) the social systemic changes in the post-totalitarian socialist world.

No country - free and democratic or those making steps in that direction, is spa red of these influences. But the different influences are of a varied priority and with different contents for the national security and for the system of civi l-military relations in the different types of countries: while societies and s tates with developed market economies and solid democratic traditions like, for example, the United States, are concentrated mainly on the adaptation to the fir st and the second sources of change, others, like Bulgaria, are fixed on the fou rth and less - on the first, and least, though so important - on the second. A natural task for the NATO countries is limiting defence spending while attemptin g to provide effective armed forces. For seven consecutive years a major task o f Bulgaria is the survival of her armed forces - a poor starting position for th e efforts of adapting to the three mentioned sources of change in the field of c ivil-military relations.

The fixation on the existential issues of society and its armed forces does not provide the country with an adequate capacity of adapting its national security system to the dramatic changes of the external security environment and the dram atic technological breakthroughs. This leads to turning the natural process of changing the entire system of values of the people, its civilians and military, into a frustrated one, doubting even the rationale of all the changes in recent years. This can be traced during the last seven years both in the decision-maki ng process on national security and foreign-political issues, and on the everyda y behavior and acts of individual representatives of the armed forces of the cou ntry. Hence, it is no wonder, both the civilians and the military are still not well placed in the complex and with a manifold meaning civil-military relations hip.

Some people in the West and in the East are tempted to remind that the issues of civil-military relations are nowhere ultimately solved. For example, still "th e intelligence community - a $30 billion black hole of no public accountability" [1] is a fact of life in the USA. "Providing the public at national and Europe an level with appropriate information on the issues involved in developing an au tonomous and credible European defence policy" [2] is an actual task of the West ern European Union. Despite the different magnitude of the problems in the Bulg arian civil-military relations, it is good to remember that "a country which has no problems of civil-military relations and democratic control is a country whi ch has no democracy" [3].

A second basic concept of the Study, stemming from these considerations is that the good, taking place in the Bulgarian civil-military relations is no enemy of the perfect in the field. The "perfect" itself is not an ideal achievement that does not create new problems during the strife for improvement and no one can c lose the competition between civilians and the military, taking place in democra tic limits.

The present problems in the Bulgarian civil-military relations are doomed to be transformed most probably into new ones, of a more benign character, i. e. the e xpectations that the problems of the civil-military interrelationship are of jus t a temporary character are futile and demobilizing. There is really more worth in the effort to prevent dilettantism of civilian and military experts as parti cipants in the relationship in question rather than exploiting the issue of the "eternal" existence of problems in the field of civil-military relations as an a rgument of inactivity.

Plainly speaking, the essence of this second concept is the need to work for sol ving the multitude of problems in that field. Any neglect of this approach will inevitably fire back both at society and its army.

A third basic concept of the Study is that the contradictory pressures of the ex ternal and the internal national security environment, the inadequacies of the d omestic conceptual and policy-making machinery prove by now to contribute to the general frustration of the civil-military interrelationship. Though the princi ple of the civilian oversight of the military is officially not doubted, praetor ianism is virtually eliminated, the results are often failures of the coordinati on and control mechanisms between civilian and military sectors as well as inabi lity of civilians and society in general to provide even the minimum needed fund ing for implementing the mission and role of the military.

In the fluid, transforming and specific national security environment of Bulgari a sensible efforts are required to prevent civilian-military interaction turn in to an obstacle of an adequate national security of the democratic country. For this reason three objectives need to be reached: first, achieving national cons ensus on foreign policy, security and defense; second, improving the national s ecurity decision-making process and, third, fostering a more harmonious relation ship between civilian and military counterparts.

A fourth basic concept, closely connected with the previous one, is that the dom inating motivation of designing and implementing the principle of the democratic control over the military and the construction of meaningful civil-military rel ations is the country's integration in EU, NATO and WEU as well as the need to r espect the rule of law. This motivation has very much to do with the novelty of the security situation of Bulgaria after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the end of the Soviet Union.

The motivation that a normal, healthy democratic society with effectively functi oning market economy requires good civil-military relations is still of a lower priority. It takes time for democracy to take roots. The situation is going to change and the "internal political motivation" will get the upper hand over the benefit of integrating in the Western economic, political and defense instituti ons with the realization of the link between good civil-military relations and t he attainment of effective armed forces in the infotech age.

Our understanding is that the "misplacement" of the two motives for building goo d civil-military relationship is not only understandable, but quite normal from the point of view of the process of knowledge: the need to anchor one's country 's national security system in times of change and unpredictability to a stable security and defense system can be more easily sensed than the adaptation to the needed chain of economic, social, political, cultural, psychological and milita ry transformations inside the country.

The tranquillity the integration into a working and effective security and defen se organization will bring will make much easier the elaboration of a national s trategy how to provide an answer to the own nation's problems, including the cre ation of effective armed forces. Of course, some East/Central European nations have developed through effort and reason better conditions than others. Bulgari a is unluckily not among the forerunners.

A fifth basic concept of the Study is the absence of a functional model of civil -military relations that can be implanted into a transitional society from total itarian socialism to a democratic society - the period when democratic instituti ons and a pluralistic political system are established, regular, honest and demo cratic elections take place, representative parliamentary institutions are form ed and civil rights are respected. This is why a leading concept of the Study i s Samuel P. Huntington's understanding that "civil-military relations is one asp ect of national security policy" [4].

A leading motive driving the author of this Study is the need to find answers to the questions: what design and practical construction of civil-military relati ons will best serve the national security of Bulgaria in the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries; what are the internal social, economic an d political imperatives of such a model and, what foreign-political behavior wil l best correspond to it.

This requires to outline the problem of the civil-military relations in Bulgaria after the beginning of the systemic change in the end of the 80s.


In theoretic terms the beginning of the democratic transformations in the post-t otalitarian socialist countries in Central/Eastern Europe, including in Bulgaria , set the standards of the industrial democracies in the field of civil-military relations. They included: 1) achieving a high degree of professionalism by th e military; 2) reaching an effective subordination by the military to the civil ian leaders; 3) clear and competent recognition by the same civilian leaders of the role and the social mission of the military, and 4) minimizing the political role of the military. These standards entered the new market of ideas in that field even before the Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization (WPTO) was dismissed. Tha t was a logical consequence after the departure from the philosophy of the one-p arty state in which the military was an instrument of the party.

In other words, the question under scrutiny in this Study entered the theoretic realm of Samuel P. Huntington's book "The Soldier and the State" [5]. It was a question of time, educational or self-educational effort to outline the new para meters of the civil-military interrelationship and its basic features:

First, military institutions of any society are shaped by two forces - a functio nal imperative stemming from the threats to the society's security, and a social imperative arising from the social forces, ideologies, and institutions that ar e dominant within the society. According to Sam Huntington the interaction of t hese two forces is the "nub" of the problem of civil-military relations. The co nflict of the civilians and the military is dependent on the intensity of the se curity needs and on the nature and the strength of the value pattern of society.

A very important consequence of these considerations with a special significance for Bulgaria is that adjustment and balance between the two forces are not inev itable. Some societies may prove to be incapable to provide effectively their o wn military security due to their lack of survival value in times of change and continuing threats. The functional imperatives in molding civil-military relati ons in times of technological and international-political change have grown in i mportance. The basic questions Bulgarian civil-military relations face today ar e how to make them more compatible with the values of democracy and political pl uralism and how best they can serve for keeping Bulgarian national security.

Second, the major point of interest in civil-military relations is the relations hip of the officer corps to the state. Here is the principal conflict between f unctional and societal pressures.

The officer corps is the driving and directing element of the military structure and is responsible for the military security of society. On the other side, th e state is the powerful and directing element of society and is responsible for the allocation of resources among important value pillars, including to military security.

The social and economic relationship between the military and the other part of society is realized through the political relationship of the officer corps and the state. This is why it is necessary to outline the theoretic and historic al perspective of the officer corps' nature, of the specific character of the mi litary profession and of the military mind to understand the problem of the Bulgarian civil-military relations in the period of transition.

A further theoretic structuring of the issue of civil-military relations in Bulg aria utilizes Chris Donnelly's approach of breaking the problem down [6]: when discussing civil-military relations the real and whole issue that is being dealt with is the transformation of the security, especially the defence establish ment in the post-totalitarian socialist state of Bulgaria. This issue can b e broken down into three distinct and interconnected areas: democratic con trol, civil-military relations and defence reform.

The debate, especially the internal one, often confuses or blurs these aspects o f the issue. Usually only one element is taken and the others are being ignored . Claiming that the problem of civil-military relations is overcome means actu a lly only a partial and inadequate solution has been achieved.

It is only through the dialectical reinforcement of the progress in all three ar eas that the problem of the transformation of the defense establishment in post- totalitarian socialist Bulgaria can be solved. For example, the subordination o f the military to the democratically elected government, the increased transpare ncy in defense policy, the greater parliamentary oversight, the progress in civi lianizing the defense ministry, putting legally an end to the internal security role of the armed forces (the latter was verified during the street unrest of Ja nuary-February, 1997) are real indications of the progress in that area.

But this is not enough to conclude the transformation of the defense establishme nt is completed and either the civil-military relations or the democratic contro l are in good shape. When the armed forces are in a mess and a major everyday d uty is counting the amount of food reserves left to the end of the current week while technological modernization of the armed forces sounds like a science-fict ion story there must be no doubt civil-military relations are still lagging behi nd if compared to the standard requirements of a NATO membership.

Breaking further down the three areas of the defense establishment transformatio n in Bulgaria leads to the following sub-structure of the elements:

First, the democratic control. It includes the government direction of the mili tary activity and the parliamentary oversight of both the government and the mil itary.

Second, civil-military relations cover army-government relations and army-societ y relations.

Third, defense reform - the most retarded element of the whole transformation pr ocess, includes the restructuring of the armed forces and the re-conceptualizing of military psychology. The restructuring is expected to reflect the clarity o f vision how the Bulgarian nation and state are to be defended in the post-Cold War world, and the reorientation of military psychology requires a new understan ding and coming to terms with operating both in a national and international dem ocratic environment by the men and women of the armed forces.

What are the outlines of the successful part in the transformation of the defens e establishment in Bulgaria and why? A tendency with a solid social support is the growing acceptance of the norms of both military professionalism and civilia n control, though accepting does not yet mean effective operationalization of th e new way of thinking. On the one side, the military realized there are no easy solutions to the issues of national security and that some form of involvement in politics can cost them too much. Civilians, on the other side, understood th at it is too dangerous to play politics with the military. The involvement of t hree very high ranking generals into the political activity of the three major o pposing each other political parties in Bulgaria developed a bad reputation for both the persons and for their political mentors. The comparatively low politic al, social and financial cost of the reorganization of civil-military relations and the introduction of the democratic control of the activity of the military e stablishment is another reason for the reception of a broad popular and politica l su pport.

Major inadequacies of the transformation of the defense establishment with all i ts three elements, though with no consequence of a military intervention in poli tics, are: the ambiguities in the present legal and institutional framework, a polarized domestic politics, influencing badly the general national security situation of the country, and the low level of civilian expertise in security an d defense.

The causes are to be traced in the historical traditions and heritage of civil-m ilitary relations in Bulgaria, the slow adaptation to the dramatically changed n ational security environment of the country, the newly emerging roles of the arm ed forces and the inadequate balancing of the separated powers of the legislativ e, executive and judicial branches in the country.

While defense reform in Bulgaria has several historical precedents and the activ ity for its practical realization is very much connected with the financial and material resources society can afford to identify for its military, democratic c ontrol and civil-military relations do not have working models in the past that might be directly or with a certain level of modification utilized.

Since the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78, when Bulgaria re-established its sover eignty, the armed forces and the military entertain a constant and comparatively high level of respect by the civilian population. This is very much due to the expectations that the Bulgarian army will provide the liberation of the territo ries and Bulgarian population, which remained under the occupation of all the ne ighbors of the country after the unjust Berlin Treaty of 1878. Examples of sacr ifice not once or twice in the period after that by the Bulgarian soldiers and o fficers solidified this general positive inclination and attitude to the armed f orces of the country.

This positive record, however, is paralleled by several cases of using the milit ary as an instrument of political terror against its own people in 1923, 1925, e specially the period 1941-44 [7]. A long period before the Communists took powe r in Bulgaria the armed forces have "entertained" the experience of fascist tota litarian ideological attitudes - from the beginning of the 20s till 1944. After that an ideologically driven system of a totalitarian socialist type replaced t he previous one. The requirement of almost permanent mobilization, deep and tot al secrecy characterized the atmosphere of the combined party-social control of the armed forces, dominated by the Communist Party. The so called period of "pe restroika" in the FSU (former Soviet Union) did not bring a single seed of the n ew type of civil-military relations Bulgarian society was to turn very soon to. On the contrary, the ruining of the image of the armed forces as a burden to th e state was initiated during the ye ars of the Soviet perestroika.

The process of undermining the military component of the civil-military relation s continued after the changes of 1989-90. The result was a dramatic deprivation of the military of their guaranteed social status and stability. Meantime the civilian element did not evolve on the expert side and as an exponent of a socie ty, becoming more potent and richer for managing the issues of its military. A difficult process of realization how civil-military interrelationship in a marke t and democratic society should look like started to assume very slowly some sha pe after the adoption of the Law of Defense and the Armed Forces. Probably, the total pauperization of the officer corps at the end of 1996 and the beginning o f 1997 may turn to be a dividing line between the past and the future of civil-m ilitary relations, of the transformation of the defense establishment in general in Bulgaria. This period coincides with the clarification for and understandin g by society of the need of deep and thorough economic and financial reforms in the country.

The problem of civil-military relations, conceived as an important part of the w hole transformation of the defense establishment in Bulgaria, has largely evolve d as a meaningful social issue also thanks to the cooperation and discussions wi th NATO, WEU, OSCE and EU partners in the last 5-6 years. The contacts along th e Partnership for Peace Program, the cooperation of Bulgaria as an associate par tner of the WEU and an associate state to the EU facilitated projecting also the problem of civil-military relations on the background of the new humanitarian, peace-keeping and peace-enforcing missions of the armed forces in the post-Cold War years.

The partnership and cooperation of Bulgaria in the NATO's PfP context helps the country to adopt a more mature approach to two existent risks in the field of ci vil-military relations in the specific and hard social and economic situation. First, preventing the risk of looking to the military by the civilians in the di fficult situation as the rescuer of society and, second, preventing the exclusio n of the military from society. In the context of the second mistaken approach the Bulgarian military experienced a middle degree of isolation from society.

It will be just fair to conclude this part of the Study with the assessment that Bulgaria lacks a normal civil society, a normal state of the democratic control and a normal civil-military relationship. The issue of the transformation of t he defense establishment in post-totalitarian socialist Bulgaria is, obviously, of the category of the complex and long-term ones. Its solution will not be eas y at all!

But it will be also fair to acknowledge the last seven years are not useless for the effort to adapt to the needs of the transformation in question. Both socie ty and its military are much closer to the realization of the so called "liberal bargain", speaking in the terms of Prof. Joseph Nye, the former Assistant Secre tary of Defense for International Security Affairs of the United States [8].

This "bargain" is supposed to define in a stable way the specific rights and res ponsibilities for the military and for the civilian leadership. The contents of the evolving bargain is the recognition by the military that they are accountab le to the rule of law, agreement to remain nonpartisan and respect civilian auth ority. On the part of the civilians - they must respect the special role of the military in society as long as the military profession is needed by society, mu st provide an adequate funding for the respective and mutually agreed appropriat e military roles and missions. A common obligation is expected to be the educat ion of both military and civilians in such a way that they can interact positive ly with each other for the benefit of the society and the state.

No doubt, the present state of the transformation of the defense establishment i n Bulgaria, the civil-military relations including, is also a reflection of the ability of both the civilian political elite and of the officer corps to conceiv e and assess the dramatic changes in the internal and external national security environment of the country. Much has changed in the recent years but few solid conceptual strongholds are actively motivating on a national consensus basis th e behavior of the civilians and the military, responsible for the national secur ity of the country. The new policy of the new President in cooperation with t he leading political parties in Bulgaria and the social agreement of joining NAT O that has settled friendly relationship with Russia have the potential to turn the tide.

Understanding the way in which the progressing liberal bargain is going to be sh aped between the civilians and the military requires a deeper knowledge of the p articularities of the internal and the external national security environmental changes, how they are perceived and reflected in the national security decision- making process in Bulgaria.


1. Internal Changes

The most general perception and assessment of the post-totalitarian socialist tr ansition of Bulgaria's economy and society is of the conceptual and managemen t inadequacy, insufficiency and incapability to cope with the systemic and indiv idual changes.

The initial concerns from the incoming changes were linked to the expected hi gh velocity of the very transformations. Indeed, Bulgaria had to build-up very shortly what took the Western partners much longer time. But actually the real danger came from the inadequacy of the human factor and mainly - its concep tual and managerial impotency of coping with the issues of the internal social, economic and political changes, with the geopolitical re-ordering of the post-Co ld War world and with the challenges of the "third wave" or infotech or cyber so ciety.

This perception is the major source of the psychological atmosphere of frust ration and an occasional loss of orientation, accompanying the adaptation o f the civil-military relations and the transformation of the Bulgarian defense e stablishment in general. In the dialectic linkage of Bulgarian society, civilia ns - on the one side, and the military people of the country, on the other, the civilian part remains much indebted to the reasonable behavior of the military i n a new, completely different from the traditional situation for the armed force s. While the men and women in uniform largely succeeded to undertake a new cour se in the civil-military interrelationship, implemented the Law of De-politiciza tion of the Armed Forces, Police and the Diplomatic Service, non-involvement in political decision-making has become a solid norm of behavior, a law, providing greater civilian control over the military has been adopted, society was unable to provide both the funds necessary to carry out the modernization needed by the armed forces and for insuring a respectful social status of the officer corps. Why and how were these unfavorable conditions developed, that influenced the pe rceptions and civil-military relations?

While Bulgarian society had sensed the need for economic and technological chang e in the middle of the 80s of the present century, for the negotiated [9], quick , easy and luckily - nonviolent transition in Bulgaria, the absence of a decent, organized and motivated opposition to the official totalitarian system (as for example in Czechoslovakia or Poland) and the lack of an effective reform-concept and program by the Socialist Party led to a prolonged and yet unfinished proces s of self-identification of the alternative political force and reformation of t he old one. The post-totalitarian political forces are still dealing with their own internal conceptual and organizational problems. The social need was to fa ce the problems of the mid-80s, the newly formed ones in the beginning of the 90 s - the adaptation to the market economy and pluralistic democracy, the post-Col d War security situation, the ruined foreign-economic links and the need to buil d new and reshape the old ones.

In broader sociological terms since the middle of the 60s Bulgaria undergoes a d eepening crisis of its modernization. There are many reasons for Bulgaria's bel ated modernization. Whatever the antecedents, Bulgaria lacks historical time of repeating the model of well established Western democracies of developing and c oordinating their institutions. In reality at the turn of the 80s Bulgaria was facing the problem of either entering a chronic crisis of modernization or mobil izing society on a national consensus basis for getting out of the civilization periphery and using the potential of the free, democratic and market oriented so ciety for joining the economic and technological center of the present human civ ilization.

The real social needs of Bulgaria were not to watch the realization of petty and narrow political ambitions of individuals, groups and even bigger organizations - left, right or centrist, but rather of a different dimension:

First, instead of striving - at the expense of society, of bringing to life an i nefficient political elite with too short-sighted vision and small volume of pot ency, the very political elite could be self-shaped if this process aimed at the formation of an elite for modernizing the country. Being on the basis of democ racy and after abandoning any authoritarian form of ruling the country, the only way of achieving overlapping or at least harmonization and synchronization betw een the elite for modernization and the political one was within the context of a national consensus, bipartisan approach and strategy of economic and social re form.

Second, an adequate choice of modernization strategy. It should have included o n a national consensus basis short-, mid- and long-term aspects in the political , economic, legal and foreign support fields.

Third, elaborating and effective functioning of the organization structure of Bu lgarian modernization according to the specific national social, political and e conomic conditions.

Fourth, timely correction and adaptation of both the strategy and the organizati on, especially the regulation aspects of the economy.

Fifth, intelligent development and utilization of the human resources - not only as a problem of the education and scientific social subsystems, but also as an appropriate political and social psychological atmosphere, in which the free and democratic attitudes of people, political and social organizations and politica l leaders motivate maximum intellectual and practical output and results.

Sixth, mobilizing constructive, European-like nationalism by accentuating on the national cultural and historical traditions that have improved culture internat ionally and serve the purposes of cooperation and respect to the neighboring peo ple.

Seventh, trying to use best the beneficial aspects of the external environment a nd to bypass the existing impediments for the realization of the national object ives.

These were the Bulgarian needs. The practical realization of the reform project s of the nine governments after November 1989 were not centered around them and the results were definitely unsatisfactory in all spheres of social life and sta te institutions. Bulgarian society and state suffer now a total crisis. Econom ically the country is almost paralyzed. Thousands of people were de motivated o f active social participation because of the political irrationality. Social de gradation has no equivalent in the Bulgarian history of the present century. Hu nger and poverty have never been existent in such harsh forms as in the last few years. Unemployment is depriving from labor almost one third of the active wor king population. Hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian families are fighting every day with the need of bread, heat and dresses. The social irrationality of the situation has concrete outlines: the coexistence of a bunch of "new rich" with desperate and poor people, with fre e but unemployed citizens who are also intimidated by corrupt and criminal group s and organizations, including in the administration; the absence of a serious m odern education and a guaranteed normal health-care and emergency system and, a state machinery of drastically diminishing competence and popular respect. The demographic crisis of the Bulgarian nation is unparalleled in this century: dim inishing in numbers and getting older in age population, left by approximately 4 00,000 of its younger part who fled abroad.

The national and historic self-conscience of the Bulgarians is in crisis. The national intelligentsia led the waves of emigration. Furthermore it failed to m obilize itself as a nationally and historically responsible factor of the countr y's conceptual revival and physical salvation.

The Bulgarian national capital remained undeveloped, frustrated and too small in the context of the globalizing economy. It proved incapable by now of introduc ing and following responsibly the rules of the market and the democratic game. The 90 per cent share of the industrial property is state controlled, mostly bad ly managed or just left prey to criminal privatizers. The process of privatizat ion has just started to gather momentum.

Moral degradation, rise in criminality, terrorism, drug-trafficking, prostitutio n and violence are logical follow-ups of the social and institutional distress. The occupation of the separated powers by confronted politically forces who wag e institutional wars compromised the principle of mutually balancing separated p owers of the democratic state.

A nascent civil society, though unexpectedly vibrant, did not find its most hosp itable environment in the last years in Bulgaria.

It is only thanks to the dominating positive record of ethnic relations in Bulga ria on the popular level, the traditional Bulgarian ethnic tolerance and the ste mming from this limitations of eventual internal and external wrong-doers for ex ploiting the issue for political purposes that tensions have not erupted on ethn ic grounds.

A general neglect by investors of capital and Western governments in transformin g Bulgarian economy additionally de-motivated the internal changes. While more than $15 billion in foreign investment has been poured into Hungary since 1990, only $830 million has come in Bulgaria. Of course, more importantly, the intern al Bulgarian drive of developing an adequate interest was ill shaped for economi c, political and psychological reasons and the expected Bulgarian bid for cooper ation was either badly or unattractively formulated.

The predictable Bulgarian crisis of the end of 1996 - January-February of 1997 w as a logical result of a chain of managerial blunders that started in 1990. Tho ugh there was political activism it was inadequate of coping with the grand-issu es of transforming Bulgarian economy on an effective market basis while paying r egularly back the $12 billion debt. The success stories in that period were not the rule, but rather - the exceptions.

The Bulgarian transition to democracy and market economy required more governmen t and less ideology and political confrontation. This prevented the formulation of consistent and realistic, well-timed national objectives, and the political elite deprived itself of the chance to deal with substantial, nationally signifi cant issues. The sad result is that Bulgaria missed historical time and many op en windows of opportunity have been irreversibly closed.

Some, luckily, remain open and the chance to catch up with modernization is real . The only chance to succeed in solving the crisis in Bulgaria and jump on the road of modernization is to carry out the reforms in as a resolute way as possib le. This would importantly influence the present and the future of the transfor mation of the defense establishment in Bulgaria. The hope has not left the know ledgeable people in the civil-military-relationship field and they still believe that democratic control and military reform are mostly an internal national nee d.

2. National Security and Foreign-Political Re-orientation

The perceptions of the transforming external environment of the Bulgarian nation al security system bear the contradictory influences of various old and new fore ign-political dependencies and interests. The latter stem from the deep changes of the bipolar structure of the system of international relations of the Cold W ar period and the inception and the gradual stabilization of a new one.

Second, the perceptions of the new national security external environment reflect also the divergent opinions, concepts and practices of the internal eco nomic, social, political and cultural transformations in Bulgaria.

Lastly, the perceptions in question are part and at the same time a resul t of a heuristic process - uneasy, not always clear and potent with many complet ely different but realistic tendencies of international development.

The Bulgarian system of national security and national defence has always experi enced the influences of both the internal and the external environment. But bot h emotionally and by tradition the changes of the external environment have dram atically influenced it to the extent of its radical re-orientation.

In this context the divergent perceptions of the external national security e nvironment have a respective impact on the civil-military relations and on the t ransformation of the defense establishment of the country in general in five maj or areas:

First, shaping of a new national security value system, formation and for mulation of a new national security concept and a new national security and fore ign-political decision-making mechanism. (This issue will be dealt with in more details in the next paragraph.)

Second, re-ordering the foreign-political priorities and railroading the new alignment of the Bulgarian national security interests. The questions of th e country's integration in the European Union and NATO while fostering a new equ al and friendly relationship with Russia are certainly of major importance.

Third, considering and re-conceptualizing the contents and the models of realization of the military profession in the post-Cold War world.

Fourth, a total shrinking of the likelihood of military intervention in p olitical life, including rendering inefficient the efforts of those military who wish to remain influential through force in political life after their withdraw al from active military service. (The first chapter of the Study showed the mec hanism of these changes. A developing value system world-wide after the end of the Cold War importantly adds to the internal prerequisites in various countries on all continents [10].)

Fifth, changing the role of the civilian expertise in the field of nation al defense and national security in general.

On what grounds and how are these differing and often - frustrating perceptio ns of the international system influencing the major areas of the transformation of the defense establishment of Bulgaria, including civil-military relations?

The very nature of the deep systemic and structural changes of the international relations lays the foundation of the perceptions and the manner of their impact on the particular main areas of defense establishment transformation.

A certain level of stability of the international system and its structural leve ls has been preserved in the period of transformation of the bipolar world, but also many imbalances occurred and keep influencing the present state of the inte rnational relations: geopolitical, economic, strategic, religious and ideologic al, ecological and regulative. The transition of the old structure of the inter national system to a new one is not yet completed, the roles of the great states and the super-power - not finally cast yet, though the multipolar structure is already treated in official bilateral documents. Some clearer tendencies have gathered momentum:

TENDENCY ONE: In Europe - the eastward extension of the European and the Euroatlantic Civic and Security Space, including through their major institutio ns as NATO, EU, WEU and the Council of Europe (CE);

TENDENCY TWO: The formation of strong integration nuclei worldwide - Nor th America, Western Europe, Japan, China while Russia preserves such a potential for the future relative to some former Soviet republics;

TENDENCY THREE: Certain peoples and countries are getting poorer, and ot hers - richer. The meaning and contents of this tendency is that some nations - unlike others, are technologically and informationally marginalized and world e conomic and cyber (or infotech) center and periphery have assumed shape.

TENDENCY FOUR: Global nuclear deterrence, the Russian-American strategic nuclear and military-space interrelationship and the respective treaties in tha t field continue to fundamentally shape the military aspect of international sec urity. The tendency to block the usage of nuclear arms for national security (o ut of the circle of the official five nuclear states) or terrorist purposes has not yet found a final and solid international regulation.

TENDENCY FIVE: Regional conflicts witnessed a boom after the end of the fundamental Cold War East-West confrontation. Unluckily for Bulgaria the Balkan peninsula, in whose East-Central part the country is situated, emerged as a new knot of regional conflicts, dangerously interacting with the broader European a nd world security conditions. The post-Yugoslav conflicts and wars, the latent Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian, Albanian, Greek-Turkish and outer-Turks issues in the r egion are not yet tackled only in a cooperative way.

TENDENCY SIX: The power politics continues to dominate the political thi nking, international law is suffering a dramatic crisis after the end of the Col d War. Hence - the negotiation approaches in the field of security are hardly j umping over the limitations of the "bargaining" pattern and do not oftenly under take a "problem-solving" direction.

All six tendencies have influenced the various Bulgarian perceptions of the tran sformations of the international security system and the visions of Bulgaria's f uture in light of these changes. The unfinished character of the latter, especi ally in the Balkan area, the various internal inclinations and positions, the po or leadership in solving basic economic issues, and the very difficulty and ofte n dubiousness of the heuristic process determine the prolonged and contradictory on certain items Bulgarian adaptation to the post-Cold War security situation. Civil-military relations, the whole transformation of the defense establishment in Bulgaria were also influenced by these processes:

* The Issue of the Country's new Alignment

The extension of the European and the Euroatlantic Civic and Security space east wards was perceived in a mixed way:

a) As a favorable development that would serve the promotion of internal consoli dation of the democratizing society and state, as a stabilizer of the Bulgarian market economy reforms. Hence the integration of Bulgaria in NATO, the European Union and the Western European Union is considered the best option for the futu re of the country. Bulgaria's good relations with Russia should be kept and dev eloped and the eventual Bulgarian membership is no obstacle.

b) As an important tendency that does not reflect adequately the influence of th e Russian factor in the OSCE context. Membership in the EU, continuing Bulgaria 's Partnership for Peace (PFP), continuous effort of improving the relations wit h Russia and cooperation and strengthening the role of the OSCE in the security area is the way to the future of Bulgaria.

c) As an important tendency that may be effectively supported by obtaining a neu tral international status. This might calm down the negative Russian reactions to NATO's enlargement, keep the positive reform- tendencies in Bulgaria and pres erve the momentum of cooperation with NATO in the PFP context, the integration i n the EU, the chance of continuing a traditional positive relationship of Bulgar ia with Russia and solidifying the role of a regional stabilizer of security.

The first complex of perceptions is supported by the influence of the next two t endencies: the magnetic influence of the integration community of the countries of the EU and the obvious chance to cope with the historic task of modernizing Bulgarian society and drifting away from the economic and technological peripher y by keeping by and cooperating with the countries of the civilization center wi th developing information societies.

The sovereign Bulgarian choice of joining the expanding civil and security space eastwards is partly confused by the unfavorable elements in the functioning of the fourth, fifth and sixth tendencies. These three tendencies certainly provid e logical arguments to the supporters of the second and third option for the for eign and security policy orientation of Bulgaria:

After trying to balance for some years among the divergent international factors and preserve the regional stabilizing behavior Bulgaria made on the official le vel the choice to start working more clearly for the utilization of the effects of the first tendency by declaring the wish to be integrated both in the EU (Dec ember 1995) and in NATO (February 1997). This marks a radical shift in the coun try's foreign political and national security position, motivated by the systemi c changes of the end of the 80s, the adoption of a new Constitution of a democra tic capitalist society in 1991 and after passing a period, in which the country succeeded to demonstrate its fundamental ambition - to preserve the peace of the nation internally and in the direct neighborhood.

The late declaration for the wish to join NATO reflects a frustrated reform proc ess of the economy and society, an almost balanced positivism and negativism of NATO membership in the period 1991-96 in Bulgaria and a stable tendency of Russi an influence on Bulgarian society, political forces and state. The reversal of the official attitude displays a popular expectation that the institutional enga gements of the country in various spheres with the West, including with NATO in the political and defense one, will improve the catastrophic economic situation. This argument was openly or tacitly suggested to the public opinion by the dem ocratic political forces, confronting the position of the socialists for a "wait and see" attitude in the NATO-Russia dispute about the enlargement of the Allia nce.

The analysis of the various tendencies and the combination of their influences o n the Bulgarians for adopting a clear pro-membership in NATO position shows how and why the balance shifted in favor of this attitude: 1) the country has one w ay or another taken the road towards NATO membership after the demise of the tot alitarian socialist system and the adoption of the Constitution of 1991 and, 2) in the post-Cold War period Russia did not develop an equally attractive and inf luential design of the institutional membership in solving the question of the i nstitutional guarantees of the national security as NATO and the USA did and whi ch is viewed as extremely important for small countries like Bulgaria.

It will be fair to add that the new alignment of Bulgaria that is getting shape possesses three significant features - important for understanding the developme nt of the social attitudes in the country and the civil-military relations:

First, the change of the country's position towards the full membership bears a deep philosophic motive but also a direct financial sign, connected with the dis astrous economic situation in January-February 1997 when the caretaker governmen t's decision was taken. The expectations of society's coping with the economic crisis are directly linked with the decision to apply for NATO membership. Succ ess or failure in overcoming the economic crisis will be sociologically and psyc hologically linked with the choice of becoming Alliance members.

Second, for the short- and most probably - the mid-term, Bulgaria, for historica l and emotional reasons, should not be expected to be a reliable ally in a fanci ful, highly hypothetical anti-Russian NATO contingency, and,

Third, the forecast NATO and Russia will soon reach an agreement as it happened on 14 May 1997 in Moscow additionally motivated the shift in the Bulgarian posit ion.

Other important attitudes exist presently and in the foreseeable future, mainly the "Cyprus syndrome" - still very alive in the Bulgarian national conscience du e to the continuous tensions in the island republic of Cyprus. The eventual way out of a potential similar situation of annexation - in this case of Bulgarian territory where Moslem people are settled, is considered - realistically or unre alistically, with or without real grounds of projecting such a worst-case nation al security scenario to be dependent on Russia's protective reactions. The cont inuing Greek-Turkish tensions are considered a very dangerous military threat. They add to the differentiated assessment of NATO as an alliance Bulgaria may so on join and of Turkey and Greece as neighboring countries, members of the same A lliance due to a perceived inadequate weight to change the tides of this long la sting issue.

The NATO-Russia Founding Act will surely lessen these probable Bulgarian attitud es and concerns. Bulgaria assumes also an important position in further re-shap ing the psychological attitudes in the field of security in the post-Cold War er a as a prospective NATO member and a close historical, cultural and geopolitical friend of Russia. The approaching Bulgarian membership in NATO on a "no Russia n threat perception basis" soon after 1999 and the active parallel relationship with Russia will inevitably add to the positive attitudes towards security in Eu rope and Russia's adequate assessment of NATO's role. The significant practical relations of NATO with the new allies and the already closer Russian partner ar e just beginning and Bulgaria has the potential to build bridges in the complex area of confidence-building and developing mutual trust. Being late in the club of candidates for NATO membership should not be viewed as a setback but rather as a new possibility for Bulgaria a nd her friends to the East and the West.

The start that the NAC Madrid Summit in July, 1997 is expected to give should ca re of all the complexities of the individual cases and deal with care of the pra ctical effects of Bulgaria's security behavior that added positively to stabiliz ing the Balkans from the beginning of the 1990s as well as the undisputed democr atic change of the country in the recent years. Both local and outside observer s know that the country's direct neighborhood remained under-invested and under- cared by the West in the difficult first years of change for reasons which are n ot one hundred per cent of Bulgarian guilt. The membership rounds must not deve lop negative national self-images. They will be counterproductive for the futur e Alliance relationships. This is also an important way to compensate for the c ontradictory effects of the country's new foreign political re-orientation on th e civil-military relations.

* The New Contents and Model of Realization of the Military Profession

The end of the Cold War marked a major shift from the traditional security think ing. This led to re-thinking of the functions of military power, strategies, ne cessary hardware and operational concepts [11]. The military profession as well as the respective missions and roles also changed contents and forms of impleme ntation. Civil-military relations are also influenced and need to be re-conside red and re-conceptualized.

The basic traditional mission of the armed forces is to get ready to engage in c ombat either for the sake of deterring or for defeating the country's enemies.

Other historically proved engagements of the military profession and role are to participate in various aspects of economic re-construction or development; to c arry out or support scientific research; to participate or initiate disaster rel ief. In many cases the military have been involved in suppressing riots or stri kes.

Today the external threat continues to be the major motive of the military role and profession. In certain cases continues the need to support civil police in augmenting the internal order. Participation in disaster relief operations beco mes a significant component of the present military roles. Various internationa l programs help the training and the international cooperation in carrying out t hese missions.

Humanitarian relief is also a regular engagement of the military in an internati onal system with lots of local and regional conflicts in which the civilian popu lation is becoming victim of the armed clashes and wars. The international aspe cts of this new feature of the military profession are importantly adding to its effective implementation.

Peacekeeping is also a new present engagement of the military profession. The i nternational peacekeeping operations have become, probably, the most important a doption of a new role, comparable only to the traditional territorial defense. This new role of the military profession is actually bringing together national interest from many parts of the world into a joint, international effort whose p otential is to further change the contents of the military profession in the fut ure.

All the enlisted roles of the military already engage the everyday activity of t he Bulgarian officers and soldiers in the country and in the international partn ership programs. In light of the enormous difficulties of the transitional peri od the military profession has "opened" itself in an effort to relieve society's hardships. Occasionally military police patrols have supported national police in fighting criminality, especially the street one. One should not exclude the ir eventual involvement in the fight for curtailing illegal industries, includin g narcotics and smuggling. Similarly the protection of the environment may lead to the involvement of the military in various roles. By tradition and especial ly in the existing crisis of the health system the military health service provi des help to civilians too.

It is hard to judge if the roles of the transitional period necessarily distract the military from their core missions or lead to a rise of the authority in soc iety of the military profession - also suffering from the general social and eco nomic crisis. Certainly one of the aspects of the civilian monitoring of the ac tivity of the armed forces should deal and cope with this specific issue too.

* Changing Role of the Civilian Expertise on National Security and Defense

The end of the totalitarian socialist system in Bulgaria and of the Cold War bro ught to life the need of civilian expertise on defense issues as a central eleme nt of the new type of civil-military relationship. After these historical chang es the formation of an independent security and strategic community has begun - slowly, in an unorganized way and with limited results for seven years. The iss ue has been studied by many authors and experts involved in the transformation p rocesses in that field [12].

The development of sound civil-military relations requires a high standard of in tegration between the civil society and the armed forces. What role should the civilians play in that interrelationship?

First, they can bring their specific skills to the various issues of managing th e national security establishment and the defense one in particular. The skills of economists, accountants, lawyers, managers, etc. may prove to be crucial in a situation with very limited resources.

Second, the civilians with foreign-political or diplomatic experience may gradua lly develop, if involved in the defense issues, adequate capacity in the formula tion of security policy.

Third, not dependent on the strict rules of behavior of the officer corps the ci vilians may provide a high level of continuity in the defense establishment.

Fourth, the civilians can add to the professional military view a fresh opinion that may be particularly helpful in coping with complex defense issues which req uire broader expertise.

While talking and writing about civil-military relations we obviously mean the r elations of the people of a civil society in development with their armed servic es' men and women, in the case of "civilian expertise" we include the following categories of civilians:

1) members of the Bulgarian Parliament, the Bulgarian politicians and their res pective staffs;

2) journalists and other opinion-makers;

3) civil servants of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Foreign Affairs and European Integration Committee and the National Security Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament, the Office of t he Prime Minister of Bulgaria and the Cabinet of the Bulgarian President;

4) university professors, academic and NGO researchers.

It is notorious in each NATO, EU and WEU country there are as many models of str ucturing the civilian expertise as the number of the member-countries. Notwiths tanding, there are certainly some general expectations in these co untries from the civil-military relationship [13] that influence the perceptions in Bulgaria after the national security and foreign-political re-orientation wa s initiated:

First, a constitutional and legislative structure which allows for defined resp onsibilities and appropriate checks and balances among the various institutions of state power dealing with national security and defense;

Second, clear civilian controls over the Ministry of Defense and the military es tablishment, with democratically elected government officials having a deep reac h in the decision-making and operational processes of both;

Third, substantive, not just perfunctory, Parliamentary oversight of security po licy and expenditure;

Fourth, sufficient transparency of the decision-making processes to allow for a thorough public scrutiny of defense matters, and

Fifth, an informed national debate on security, with special importance being at tached to civilian expertise in the executive branch of government, in political parties, in the media, and in other aspects of public life; the role of indepe ndent sources of advice and critical assessment, such as research institutes is essential to the shaping of this debate and to achieving progress in other areas of civil-military relations.

It is only after the acceptance of the need to have and to work for building up the elements of these five general requirements that practical aspects of the is sue can be efficiently dealt with. Such practical areas are: the limits of the internal use of the armed forces; civil-military decision-making in emergency and crisis management situations; the implementation of the defense reform; de fense-planning and budgeting; defense procurement; legislative oversight; law s regulating the various aspects of military activity; humanitarian law; gover nment ethics; the role of the NGOs; defense policy formulation.

What is the current state of the issues under discussion in Bulgaria?

First, as Chris Donnelly has suggested about post-communist military society in general, in Bulgaria, too, it is "still a society closed to civilians and which resists civilian interference. While there may be good reasons for this, and th e situation is certainly better than it was, it remains a serious problem. The military fears depredations by ignorant civilians. It has a strong sense of its own loyalty and, in defence matters, it is convinced that it knows best. Furth ermore, the military is very distressed by the strains of transition.

The result is military resistance to efforts to develop democratic control, whic h itself generates hostility and prevents a mutually advantageous solution from being worked out. As a result, there is no Central and Eastern European country that has the effective army it needs and no government that can evaluate what k ind of defence it requires, nor what size, nor evaluate the proposals of the gen erals" [14].

Second, there exists a problem, known to almost all the parliaments of the democ ratic states, though not in the proportions of the Bulgarian transitional societ y: the general lack of knowledge among parliamentarians about security and defe nse issues. The problem is that there is neither specific knowledge, nor backgr ound by most of the members of the National Security, and in many cases - of the Foreign Political Committees. Their social role of "watchdogs" in the policy d evelopment and analysis process is very seriously undermined without the needed independent civilian expertise. The previous political system in Bulgaria bears responsibility for this situation, but seven years of democratic life were quit e a long period to work out a more decisive effort of structuring the problem an d gradually - solving it.

Third, very close to the assessment of the politicians and the parliamentarians is the one about the journalists, having a crucial role in materializing the eff ects of the civilian monitoring over the armed forces while keeping a high profi le of the national security system. Though the Bulgarian press is undoubtedly f ree, not always it is responsible enough to self-educate itself on rather specif ic or new issues as what did civil-military relations and the details of the iss ue become for society in the last seven years.

Fourth, the issue of education on civil-military relations. It is certainly at a crossroads not only for the military but for civilians as well [15]. Obviousl y there was an underestimation of the complexity of the issue, requiring both so cial and individual learning effort for developing and assimilating the civilian -military relations in democracy. The initial reactions were as if the educatio n on this principle of the democratic society was one of the campaigns, i.e. it should be short-lived, for implanting overnight a new way of thinking. The educ ational aspect is rather a political one and the learning process should be star ted at school, continued in the high school - civilian and military, and remain a permanent topic of the public debate after that. The NGOs dealing with these issues may be particularly instrumental, together with educated journalists for the internalization by society of the issues of the civilian monitoring of the n ational security institutions. The support for such NGOs should continue from international sources and gradually be paralleled by national donors, especially when laws of tax deductible donatio ns are adopted by Parliament. Bilateral and international projects in the PfP/N ATO, Phare/EU and WEU contexts continue to be major stimuli of the learning proc ess in that area.

The presently functioning Center for National Security Studies at the Ministry o f Defense, the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria - an associate member of ATA, the High Military Academy "G. S. Rakovsky" of the MoD, the Institute for Security and Int ernational Studies - an independent NGO, the Open Society Fund, the Center for t he Study of Democracy are the few institutions of bringing together civilians an d military, discussing and educating on the issues of the defense establishment transformation and the issues of civil-military relations in particular. They a re important also for the gradual process of establishing the civilian defense c ommunity as an important element of the national security community of the count ry. The latter should comprise academic, defense, diplomatic, intelligence, hum anitarian and ecological components. All of these components should create the intellectual background of a precise and competent monitoring or control proces s over the security institutions.

The risk of over politicizing the expertise of the civilians remains as long as the official institutions do not shape a consistent national security decision-m aking process. The developing Bulgarian civilian security community should be s upported and integrated in the international security one. But the major effort should be the national one.

3. Shaping of a New National Security Concept and Decisio n-Making System

The evolving perceptions of the changing post-Cold War world during the last sev en-eight years led to a gradual process of transformations in the national secur ity system of values in Bulgaria. The contents and degree of evolution in that area are to be traced in the delaying birth of a new national security concept a nd in an inefficiently functioning national security decision-making system.

The realization of a minimum order in the civil-military relationship requires a n adequate level of defining of the defense policy. That means that the armed f orces need to be told clearly what the Bulgarian nation expects them to do and w hat capability they should develop. The formula of what the military are expect ed to do should be clearly written in terms of allocating resources (place, poss ible choices), which are known to be very limited. The formula should be writte n by the politicians who are expected to demonstrate capability of balancing the policy and the budget. When the resources are limited the military experts wou ld advise what are the available options. The political leadership, however, sh ould take the responsibility of making the decisions and the defense of the chos en direction to the public.

All these needed activities and behavior require the background motivation of th e national security "ideology", embodied in a concise and thorough national secu rity concept accompanied by an effective decision-making mechanism. An effectiv e civilian control over the armed forces is possible only in case there is a str ong democratic political and institutional structure for balancing the organized , disciplined, powerful and with a high level of solidarity military as a profes sion and as an institution. The national security conceptual background of such a democratic political and institutional structure is indispensable, but there is another fundamental condition for its efficiency - a broadest possible partis an activity and interest of the political forces of Bulgaria, especially of thos e represented in the Parliament. Unluckily in the last seven-eight years the na tional security conceptual issues were generally debated with lots of ideologica l motives and party political inter ests. The too long lasting polarized political situation was named "the Bulgari an civil cold war" and of its negative effects for the national security the pub lic has been forewarned in the course of 1990 [16].

The neglect of the practical and realistic issues of the country's national secu rity concept formulation and decision-making mechanism construction did not lead to the involvement of the Bulgarian military into the political debate. But wa tching the inability of the leading politicians and statesmen to limit the negat ive effects of the political tensions on the process of drafting on a national c onsensus basis a new national security concept and decision-making mechanism mad e them nervous and highly frustrated as to their own capability to be simultaneo usly responsible actors in a democratic society and guardians of this same socie ty against various dangerous contingencies in the post-Cold War Balkans and Euro pe. The realization of the fact that the political parties are too far away fro m a joint discussion and formation of a national consensus on the genuine nation al security issues has been no comfort neither for the knowledgeable civilians, the public which has very correct instinctive evaluation of the situation, nor f or the military - patriots by rule.

Along with this justified critical approach to the formulation of the new nation al security concept of Bulgaria and the respective decision-making mechanism the re have been also positive signs for the civil-military relationship.

In the period 1990-97 thirteen documents, produced by political parties, academi c institutions, and foundations, linked to political organizations, have been gi ven the name "National Security Concept of Bulgaria". Two of them have been dra fted upon the request of the President of the Republic in 1991, coordinated by h is National Security Adviser, and of the Prime-Minister of Bulgaria in 1995, coo rdinated by the Minister of Defense. An effort by the former Prime-Minister Ber ov to launch a draft by an inter-ministerial commission failed after obstruction s by the parliamentary parties that could not solve their contradictions. The r est are a reflection of the views on national security issues by different Bulga rian political parties.

The two official drafts are a specific indicator of the breakthrough in the fiel d of communications between civilian experts and official members of the securit y institutions in Bulgaria, including the military.

The first one, initiated by President Zhelev in 1991 was worked out by 14 expert s, headed by the President's National Security Adviser and with the support and within the activity of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The team comprised 14 experts - 4 army officers, including the future Head of the Military Cabinet of the President, 2 diplomats and 8 academic researchers, including the author of the present Study. The document was the first complete version of the methodolo gical principles and new foreign-political orientations of the President's Offic e after the end of the Cold War and the systemic transformations in Bulgaria. H owever, though helpful for all other similar efforts, it could not bring togethe r the diverging political attitudes in Parliament for joint action in formulatin g a broadly acceptable concept on national security.

The second draft of a national security concept of Bulgaria that an official ins titution - in this case the Government, has been involved in, brought together t he efforts of 16 experts of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Aff airs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry for En vironmental Protection, of few independent non-governmental research institutes and from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridsky". The author of the Study parti cipated in his capacity of a Senior Researcher, founder and Director of the inde pendent, not-linked to any party and ideological movement or denomination, non-g overnmental Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS).

The national security concepts and military doctrines of Poland, Hungary, the Cz ech Republic, Russia and other post-totalitarian states in Central and Eastern E urope were carefully studied. The specific features of the Balkan environment w ere also importantly considered in search of a complex and invariant approach to emancipating the stability of the region and of its individual actors. The Nat ional Security Strategy of the USA for 1994, the White Books on the defense of F rance, Italy and Germany were also thoroughly studied. This document, adopted b y a Decision of the Government was published in the press [17].

The knowledge of the own national interests, including in the security field, is a really tough issue. The evolution of the documents, conceptualizing the nati onal security of Bulgaria in the last 7-8 years are a reflection of the improvin g quality of the security perceptions. The 1995 governmental document was a ste p forward, compared to previous efforts by political parties or other organizati ons. It is very much influenced by the post-Cold War security studies concepts about the complex character of both national and international security, leading to more realistic assessments of the problem of the "enemy" in the country's re lations with her foreign environment. An important breakthrough for the Balkan political arena, provided by the concept is Bulgaria's practical denial of the a rtificial creation of the enemy images, following the NATO July, 1990 ideas and the Charter of Paris of the OSCE, November 1991.

The National security concept of the Bulgarian Government is not politically bia sed and is the most successful effort till then for founding its premise on the national interests and ideals of the Bulgarians as conceived by the Spring of 19 95. The participation of independent politically non-governmental experts was c ertainly a guarantee against the political parties' prejudices. For example the long disputed issue of Bulgaria's relations with NATO led to the following form ula in the text of the concept: "... continuing the efforts of utilizing the potential of cooperation, suggested by NATO and the WEU with the objective for Bulgaria to join them in their future enlargement while fully considering and re specting the country's national interests" [18].

Some of the participating experts have previously clearly stated their own posit ions, requiring as a necessary step the formal declaration by the official autho rities for the readiness of Bulgaria to join NATO while appealing for a construc tive regulation of the Alliance-Russian strategic relationship [19].

Later this view has been adapted to the reality of the Bulgaria's obvious placem ent in the second row of NATO candidates and the need to have a clear vision of what the country should do in the meantime [20]. According to this view in the late Summer of 1996 the developing Bulgarian position and interests to NATO coul d be characterised in this way: "1. Bulgaria is still on the level of Partners hip for Peace participation. PFP is conceived as a serious Euroatlantic inst itution with which the country is interested to develop an intensified form of relationship. It is through the PFP that an adequate level of compatibility and interoperability is to be achieved with NATO. The technical transitional pe riod will most probably coincide in time with the evolution of the political and strategic interrelationships in the OSCE area that are still unresolved and wit h the country's adaptation to the EU. By continuing to produce security Bulgari a will contribute to finding an agreeable solution of these issues. At the firs t appropriate opportu nity the PFP structure is to be crossed in the direction of full NATO membership in a situation which will not be characterized by drawing new dividing lines in Europe because of membership in the Alliance. The engagement with NATO for the time being will be real for Bulgaria even without the Article 5 of the Washingt on Treaty obligation of the Alliance and the actual membership in the integrated military structure. For Bulgaria - a signatory of the NPT, the nuclear option for achieving defence is not acceptable even theoretically.

2. While this is acceptable for the national security in peace-time in case of an escalating war threat it is in the country's interest to choose among four po ssibilities or a combination of them: full membership in NATO; bilateral milita ry agreement with the USA; bilateral military agreement with Russia; military n eutrality.

The governmental concept of 1995 was not moved in the Parliament because of disa pproval from both left and right, and a year later the text obviously needed to be actualized. This was not done. The responsibility is of those who were in c harge of the respective parliamentary commissions for foreign policy and nationa l security. The Government, on its side, did not accept the experts' recommenda tions of making public an accompanying declaration to be adopted by Parliament, considering the country's position to NATO membership.

The work of the experts on the national security concept was very positively inf luenced by an international seminar, organized by the Center for National Securi ty Studies at the Ministry of Defense and the Center for the Studies of Democrac y with the support of NATO Press and Information Service and the Open Society Fu nd: "Methodology of formulating a national security concept", held in So fia, 3-4 May, 1995 as an element of the process of drafting the concept. This s eminar's ideas and suggestions promoted further the principles of civil-military relations of the democratic society in the process of shaping a new national se curity concept. A special tribute deserved the effort of Dr. Hans-Georg Wieck o f Germany to bring to the attention of the Bulgarian participants the specific r equirements of building the intelligence service in the democratic society.

The inadequacies of the management of the transformation processes were reflecte d also on the foreign-policy and national security decision-making structures in Bulgaria. The inconsistencies and deficiencies of the unfinished process of dr afting the national security concept on a national consensus political basis, th e cold war of official state institutions on strategic and tactical issues of Bu lgaria's transition to democracy - a specific local contribution to the "separat ion of powers" theory, deprived the country and its people from an effective nat ional security decision-making mechanism. The author of this Study has been ask ed by the President's Office through the former Institute for International Rela tions and Foreign Policy at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in December, 1991 to draft an expert concept of a Presidential National Security Council (NSC) as a consultative body. The suggested concept provided for a thorough consultative process that was supposed to lead to an acceptable decision-making follow-up by the constitutionally empowered authorities. The only requirement was a minimum level of agreement on a non-party, nationally motivated basis.

During the first term of President Zhelev the NSC functioned in an informal way as a consultative body with almost missing decision-making follow-ups in the con stitutional procedure. The Law, determining the status of the Consultative Nati onal Security Council (CNSC) of 28 January, 1994 did not change qualitatively th e decision-making situation in the field of national security. The stubborn pol itical confrontation compromised a lot of open opportunities for the country's n ational security and foreign policy. Occasionally the CNSC proved a very useful , though only consultative, institution, especially in cases of internal politic al deadlock situations [21]. The smooth national security decision-making proce ss and the formulation of a national security concept are still open issues that need to be solved. The newly elected Parliament and Government have set the ta sk of finally drafting the National Security Concept that will include the clear position to join the Atlantic Alli ance in the near future.


The major conclusion of the present Study is the realization of the need of furt her strengthening of independent think-tanks as the Institute for Security and I nternational Studies. The process of developing the information and analytic ba se of the Bulgarian civil society will not be a short one and the efforts initia ted some years ago need to be continued and supported. Our belief is that at so me point the legislators, the politicians in general will require at least for t heir own parties' analytic purposes the opinion of other, independent sources to balance the call for spending for defense and the limited resources of the tax- payer in Bulgaria.

The next conclusion is that civilian as well as military expertise must prove it is in the national interest to have democratic control over the military, smoot h civil-military relations that promote consensus on national security issues an d not simply one of the major requirements for NATO and EU membership. The peac eful, though difficult transition to democracy must be further stabilized throug h courageous steps to continue and implement the transformation of the defense e stablishment of the country.



1. USA TODAY/International Edition, May 3, 1996, 6A.

2. The armed forces, European defence and informing the public in WEU member co untries, Document 1523, 13 May, 1996, Assembly of WEU, 12 pp.

3. Chris Donnelly, Defence transformation in the new democracies: A framework for tackling the problem, in: NATO review, No 1, January 1997, p. 17.

4. Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambri dge, MA, London, England, 1985, p. 1.


5. Samuel P. Huntington, Op. cit., p. 2-3.

6. Chris Donnelly, Op. cit., p. 16-17.

7. Plamen Pantev, Valeri Ratchev, Todor Tagarev, Civil-Military Relations in Bu lgaria: Approaches to Improving the Civilian Monitoring of the Armed Forces, IS IS, Sofia, 1996, pp. 25-28.

8. Joseph Nye, Concluding Address, in: Civil-Military Relations and the Consol idation of Democracy, Conference Report, June 1995, International Forum for Demo cratic Studies and George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, pp. 20-21.


1. Internal Changes

9. See about this issue: Jacques Rupnik, The Post-Totalitarian Blues, in: Jou rnal of Democracy, Volume 6, Number 2, April 1995, pp. 61-73.

2. National Security and Foreign-Political Re-orientation

10. See: Civil-Military Relations and the Consolidation of Democracy, Op. cit. , p. 10-21.

11. See, for example: Gustav Däniker, The Guardian Soldier: On the Natur e and Use of Future Armed Forces, UNIDIR/95/28, Research Paper No 36, New York a nd Geneva, 1995, 141 pp.; Valeri Ratchev, Plamen Pantev, The Changing Role of t he Armed Forces in Modern Society, in: Approaches to Improving the Civilian Mon itoring of the Armed Forces, Op. cit., p. 6-16,; Joseph S. Nye, Jr., and Willia m A. Owens, America's Information Edge, in: Foreign Affairs, March/April 1996, Volume 75, Number 2, p. 20-36, etc.

12. See: Chris Donnelly, Op. cit.; Reka Szemerkenyi, Central European Civil-M ilitary Reforms At Risk, Adelphi Paper 306, 96 pp.; Ivan Krastev, The Role of C ivilian Experts in the National-Security Decision-Making Process, in: Valeri Ra tchev, Ognyan Avramov, Ivan Krastev, National Security and the Democratization o f Civil-Military Relations in Bulgaria, Albatros, Sofia, 1996, p. 138-149; Vale ri Ratchev, Todor Tagarev, Plamen Pantev, Does Bulgaria Need Civilian Strategist s and Military Politicians? Education and Training Against Dilettantism, in: P lamen Pantev, Valeri Ratchev, Todor Tagarev, Op. cit., pp. 77-83.

13. See: NACC/PfP(C)N(95)4, NACC/PfP Unclassified Document, 31 October 1995, 5 pp.

14. Chris Donnelly, Op. cit., p. 19.

15. See: Todor Tagarev, The Bulgarian Military Education at a Crossroads, Rese arch Reports-4, ISIS, Sofia, 1996, 29 pp.

3. Shaping of a New National Security Concept and Decision-Making System

16. See for example: Plamen Pantev, National Security - Outlines of a New Conc ept, in: International Relations Journal, Sofia, 1/1991, pp. 6-7.

17. National Security Concept of the Republic of Bulgaria, in: Bulgarian Army Newspaper, 17 and 18 July, 1995, No 13762, pp.1-2, and 13763, pp. 1-2.

18. Ibid., No 13763, p. 2.

19. Plamen Pantev, The Foreign Policy of Bulgaria in the Atlantic-Euro-Asiatic Zone: the Formula for the Behavior in the End of the XXth Century, in: Interna tional Relations Journal, Sofia, 2/1995, p. 19.

20. Plamen Pantev, Bulgaria's Foreign and Security Policy: Stabilizing the Bal kans, Integrating in the CFSP of the EU and in the New Euroatlantic Security Arc hitecture, in: Plamen Pantev, Valeri Ratchev, Tilcho Ivanov, Bulgaria and the E uropean Union in the Process of Building a Common European Defence, ISIS, Sofia, September 1996, pp. 36-37.

21. The political impasse of January-February, 1997 in Bulgaria was overcome th anks to the good political will of the responsible political forces and the exis tence of a face-saving institution as the CNSC appeared to be. Anyway, the resu lt was extremely positive from a national security point of view: the danger of clashes between the police and the demonstrating people in the streets of the h ungry towns and cities of Bulgaria at that time has been overcome with no single victim.

About the author

Plamen Ilarionov Pantev - (b. 1952), Senior Research Fellow, Ph. D. and Associate Professor in International Relations and International Law. Expert in security, foreign-policy forecasting and international negotiations. Founder a nd Director of the Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS).

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