The basic stage of the joint multinational training “Steadfast Lev 15” has started. It is conducted in the period 27 March 2015 – 30 April 2015 at Novo Selo training range with the participation of units from the armed forces of Bulgaria, USA and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
111 servicemen from 42nd mechanized battalion of the 2nd mechanized brigade with 12 piece of equipment will participate in the exercise from the Bulgarian side. The US units with 132 servicemen and 17 pieces of equipment are from 2nd squadron of 2nd armored regiment and from BRAVO company of 2nd battalion from 7th infantry regiment of the 3rd infantry division. 36 servicemen from Viking Company of 1st Royal Regiment of UK participate in the exercise as well.
In the course of the whole exercise, the servicemen will improve their skills of planning and management in conducting multinational operations which will result in achieving better interoperability between the participating units.
The deputy commander of 2nd mechanized brigade, Colonel Nedyalko Ninov, declared at the opening ceremony, “ We start the joint preparation “Steadfast lev 15” in which servicemen from Bulgaria, USA and UK will increase their military skills . It is an exceptionally good opportunity for us all. Here, we will work on improving our interoperability in order to achieve such a level of synchronization at which we will be able to function jointly. I am convinced that your motivation is to give us your personal contribution to security and stability, required for the prosperity of our countries.”
“The exercises which we conduct at the joint facilities in Novo Selo were planned years ago, and they help us to maintain our army in good combat readiness,” said Minister of Defence Nikolay Nenchev on the VIP Day at Novo Selo which was dedicated to the joint preparation “Black Sea Rotational Force – Platinum Lion 15.2” Demonstrations with the participation of forces, materiel means and equipment from US Marine Corps, the armed forces of Bulgaria and Romania were conducted today, 14.04.2015. The Members of the Parliamentary Defence Committee Hristo Gadzhev (GERB), Petar Slavov (RB) and Iliyan Todorov (political party Ataka) attended the VIP Day. They observed an exercise on anti-riot operation conducted by formations from Bulgaria, USA and Romania. Servicemen from 31st mechanized battalion, 38th mechanized battalion and the Headquarters of 2nd Tundzha mechanized brigade participated in the exercise from the Bulgarian side. Servicemen from 2nd battalion of 8th “Marine Corps” Regiment of the US Marine Corps and servicemen from 2nd battalion of 1st mechanized brigade of Romanian Land Forces participated in the training as well.
“This exercise proved to be of a high quality, and it showed the necessity of the joint facilities, and how necessary for us these facilities with their world level quality are. The exercise also proved the necessity of joint preparations with our allies and partners,” said the Minister of Defence Nikolay Nenchev.
The Bulgarian-American facilities are an element of the Defence Cooperation Agreement between the Republic of Bulgaria and USA signed on 28 April 2006. According to the Agreement, all buildings and sites in the facilities subject to the agreement, including the ones which have been reorganized or improved by the US forces, will become property of Bulgaria after their construction is completed, and they will be used by the US forces. The Agreement allows for development of the infrastructure of the joint facilities, and on this basis, the US forces built completely at their expense the joint facility Novo Selo training range. The construction of the facility was completed in 2012, and the overall investment in the facility itself and in the adjacent infrastructure amounts to more than 60 million US dollars.
In accordance with the bilateral agreement, the financial means invested by the US side in the Bulgarian economy or provided for the Bulgarian side amount to more than 29 million US dollars.
Humanitarian projects whose overall value is 1 232 5000 US dollars were implemented in 2014.
For 2015, the financial means planned for projects within the framework of the humanitarian assistance and reconstruction package amount to 1 750 000 US dollars.
By 15 April 2015, Bulgaria is to submit its national report on the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The information exchanged on an annual basis between our country and the rest of the OSCE participating States is prepared jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, and the Ministry of Interior on the basis of answers to the questionnaire adopted by the OSCE participating States. The better part of the questions falls under the competence of the Ministry of Defence. Those relate to, among others, the legislative basis regulating defence planning, democratic control, roles and missions of the Armed Forces, the execution of the military service, education in international humanitarian law, the legal and the administrative procedures to protect the rights of the Armed Forces personnel.
In 1994, the participating States of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) adopted a Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security. The Code is a fundamental document setting forth the principles of good governance in the security sector management and playing the role of a monitoring mechanism as regards the observance of the said principles. It became effective as of January 1st, 1995. The exchange of information carried out under the Code contributes to confidence and security building between the countries. As an additional transparency measure, the reports are published on OSCE’s website.
By tradition, mid-March marks the beginning of a period of enhanced training for the Bulgarian Army, which will cover the months up to the end of November. The Bulgarian Army needs to conduct exercises and trainings, as it is the fundamental task of any professional army to do so, Minister Nikolay Nenchev said in this regard. We cannot make concessions on combat readiness as this would mean compromising national security, he added. According to Minister Nenchev, the Bulgarian Armed Forces have a responsibility to Bulgarian society, which expects them to carry out their tasks on a daily basis.
Various units of military equipment will be involved in the exercises, belonging both to Bulgaria and to partner countries. The transportation of the equipment and troops designated to take part in the training will begin as early as the next few days. The purpose of the exercises, all scheduled beforehand, is to maintain a sufficient level of readiness of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. Another purpose is to increase the interoperability with our NATO Allies and our partners. All exercises have been coordinated in advance and the neighbouring countries have been notified, as is the established international practice.
Within this period of training, the three branches of the Armed Forces – Army, Air Force and Navy – will take part in about 70 exercises. These are all long-established exercises, some conducted for the tenth year in a row. Among the participants will be the militaries of both NATO Allies and NATO Partners. The Bulgarian Armed Forces will also be part of more than 20 exercises in other countries, among which are Greece, Romania, Albania, Poland, and Germany.
Minister Nenchev announced that most procedures relating to the delivery of tyres, fuel, boots and other gear needed for the day to day functioning of the armed forces are almost completed.
Bulgaria’s contribution reflects your rock-solid determination and commitment to collective security. That was what the NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw declared at a briefing with the Chief of Defence, Rear Admiral Rumen Nikolov, today, 17 March 2015. The Deputy Allied Commander General Sir Adrian Bradshaw is on a two-day visit to Bulgaria. He expressed his satisfaction with the plans and readiness of Bulgaria to set up NATO coordination center tasked to implement liaison between the Bulgarian armed forces with the Alliance’s forces, the goal being to assist the coordination of joint training and preparation.
Joint trainings and preparations on the territory of the country are not related to conducting specific military operations. They are linked to the basic task of the armed forces – to maintain combat-ready forces, declared the Chief of Defence, Rear Admiral Rumen Nikilov. He emphasizes that if Bulgaria decreases the number of the military exercises, this will lead to decreasing the quality of the combat training, which is of exceptional importance under conditions of conflicts to the south and to the east.
At the meetings of the NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander General Sir Adrian Bradshaw with the Chief of Defence Rear Admiral Rumen Nikilov and the Deputy Minister of Defence Dimitar Kyumyurdzhiev a series of topics were discussed such as issues related to military exercises and possibilities to conduct trainings as a part of the Alliance’s measures to guarantee security, deployment of forces in response to crises, the on-going participation of Bulgaria in NATO operations, including operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan, KFOR operation on the Balkans etc.