Military of Bulgaria

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The Bulgarian Army (Bulgarian: Българска армия) represents the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Commander-in-Chief is the President of Bulgaria (currently Georgi Parvanov). The Ministry of Defense is in charge of political leadership while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff, headed by the Chief of Staff. There are three main branches - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.

Throughout the nation's history, the army has played an important role in defending the country's sovereignty. Only several years after its liberation (1878), Bulgaria became a regional military power and got involved in several major wars - Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885), First Balkan War (1912–13), Second Balkan War (1913), First World War (1915–1919) and Second World War (1941–1944), during which the Army gained significant combat experience. During the Cold War the People's Republic of Bulgaria maintained one of the largest militaries in the Warsaw Pact, numbering an estimated 152,000 troops in 1988.[4] Since the Fall of Communism, the country's political leadership decided to pursue a pro-NATO policy, thus reducing military personnel and weaponry. Bulgaria joined the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004, and currently maintains a 460-strong force in Afghanistan as part of ISAF.[5]

The patron saint of the Bulgarian Army is St. George. The Army day or St. George's day (6 May) is an official holiday in the country.

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