European NATO Countries Expand Military Training for Civilians as Bulgaria Prepares Its Own Strategy

@Ministry of Defense

In about a month, Bulgaria will finalize its approach to organizing military training for civilians, as the deadline for creating the Strategic Defense Review ends in late June. Meanwhile, several European countries are already offering such training.

A summary of media reports since the start of the year shows a trend: many NATO countries are initiating dialogues on civilian military training. For instance, the Polish Army has launched a summer program called "Vacation with the Army," where Polish men and women aged 18-35 can enroll in a 27-day basic military training at one of 70 bases, earning around 1,520 USD. Norway is increasing its number of conscript soldiers, while Denmark plans to introduce conscription for women by 2026 and extend service from four to eleven months. Latvia and Sweden have resumed military service, and in Romania, there is a push for faster adoption of defense laws, including voluntary military service for people aged 18-35. Romanian officials are considering long-term military training strategies to avoid a future shortage of reservists. Military expert Yordan Bozhilov attributes these moves to Russia's war in Ukraine but clarifies they are not preparations for war.

For the national radio, Bozhilov explains that countries like Romania, Poland, and the Baltic states have a higher risk assessment for large-scale war compared to Bulgaria, prompting them to seek solutions. Bulgaria's political leaders must assess the situation before making decisions. Introducing mandatory military service could be seen as coercion by the public, Bozhilov warns.

NATO countries handle their peacetime deployment of deterrence forces nationally, although NATO has set peacetime manning requirements based on risk assessments. Each country...

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