Abstract: The authors of the article are convinced that a transmutation in the state’s defense system governance model is needed. In order to prove their thesis they perform a critical analysis of the regulatory framework, focusing on the approaches and activities of the defense system authorities, revealing a number of weaknesses and imperfections, justifying the need for a turnover in the governance model. In addition, they are setting out some guidelines for variation in the defense governance mechanism. As a result, the authors are able to prove the thesis that there is a need to transmute the defense governance model and the proposed conceptual guidelines not only lead to the improvement of the functional architecture of the defense system, but also give a forum for in-depth discussion among experts in the research topic.
Key words: National Security System; Defense System; Governance Model; Crisis and Conflict Management System; Security Council; National Defense Council.
The great dynamics and low predictability of the international environment have given new meaning and importance to the early warning of the possible risks and threats to national security and their adequate countering. Continuous analysis of trends and the assessment of the nature of risks and threats in the security environment on a global and regional scale are key to timely and responsive to changes decisions by government bodies. Under these circumstances, the requirement for the capability of the national security system to capture all signals of real or potential security hazards and to offer one or other response options is highlighted.
As is known, each national or regional security system includes many subsystems – information, economic, military, energy, environmental, transport, financial security, justice and home affairs, etc. This is because the national security system is originally designed to protect the national interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and for that purpose unites in a specific, national way the capabilities of all its components.
One of the most important functions of the national security system is related to ensuring defense of the country, with the purpose of building and developing a defense system for the country1. The country’s defense system includes both the military capabilities of the national power – the armed forces, and the capabilities of all other instruments, components and subsystems that can be used for defense of the country. Thus, the defense system accumulates within itself the entire national defense power, i.e. it builds up and, if necessary, uses the defense capability of the country*
According to Art. 3, para. 1 of the Defense and Armed Forces Act of the Republic of Bulgaria “The defense of the Republic of Bulgaria is a system of political, economic, military, social and other activities for ensuring a stable security environment and for the preparation and implementation of armed protection of the territorial integrity and independence of the state”.2 In other words, defense has two functions. The first one can be defined as peacetime – “… to provide a stable security environment…” and the second, as wartime “… to ensure armed protection of the territorial integrity and independence of the state”.
The Defense Governance Bodies in the Republic of Bulgaria, according to the Defense and Armed Forces Act, are the National Assembly, the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers3, whereas the analysis of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria and the National Defense Strategy explicitly show that the main responsibility for the control of security and defense systems for the protection of national interests lies with the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria and in particular the Security Council.
Due to the fact that the Security Council comprises the majority of heads of ministries and government administration4, it can be expected that the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers are based on preliminary consolidation achieved by the Security Council members on security and defense issues. However, practice shows that the decisions taken regarding the management of the security and defense systems do not always lead to the desired effects, neither to the achievement of the goals and tasks set out in the national strategy papers. Obviously, something in the structure, organization and mechanism of decision-making and coordination of efforts is not right. The dispute in 2017 between the main institutions responsible for security and defense on the status and capabilities of the armed forces to fulfill their constitutional obligations to guarantee the territorial integrity of the country is only one evidence to support such a thesis.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to investigate the existing security and defense management mechanism in the Republic of Bulgaria and try to give a clear answer to the question – is there a need for a change in the national defense system management model? In order to achieve the stated objective, we have the ambition to make a critical analysis of the regulatory framework, focusing on the approaches and activities of the defense system management bodies, second, based on some stated weaknesses and imperfections to justify the need for a change in the management model, and, thirdly, to provide guidance on how to change the defense management mechanism.
The first task requires a brief, objective analysis of the normative regulation of the approaches and activities of the defense system management bodies. In the hierarchy of the government system, the National Assembly implements the legislative building and control of the national security and defense systems. The president is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and heads the National Security Advisory Council5. The role of the Council is at the political-consultative level to form a broad public consensus on the issues of security and defense. In wartime, the President forms the Supreme Chief Command, which assists him in the leadership of defense and armed forces.
The Council of Ministers directs and implements the domestic and foreign policy of the country in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, ensures the public order and the national security and exercises the general leadership of the state administration and the Armed Forces.6 From the formulated obligations in the regulatory acts of the above-mentioned defense management bodies, it can be argued that the Council of Ministers manages, implements and supports all areas related to the security and defense of the country.
An essential element of the national security and defense systems of the Republic of Bulgaria are the consultative and coordinating bodies with the Council of Ministers related to activities in the sphere of security, defense, public order, prevention and countering of corruption, development of the national defense industry, etc. The main advisory and coordinating body with the Council of Ministers is undoubtedly the Security Council. This is due to the fact that the main functions and tasks of the Security Council, stipulated in the Regulations on its functions, tasks and organization, can briefly be summarized as follows: to summarize, analyze and draw conclusions from the whole current information on the risks to national security and collective security and defense; to provide professional evaluation and prognosis of the dynamics in their development and plan measures to neutralize them; to offer solutions in times of crisis; to coordinate the plans of the special services to obtain information; to advise on the allocation of national resources, the strategies and programs developed; to develop and propose to the Council of Ministers the annual report on national security.7
The historical review of the national legislation related to the work of the Security Council and its Secretariat since their establishment in 1998 to date indicates the need for a single national advisory body, responsible for the coordination of security and defense policies, a body which will integrate the efforts of all ministries and agencies, as well as the territorial administration authorities with regard to their implementation.
How is the work of the Security Council regulated and its role performed in terms of security and defense management? Here are some problematic issues.
First of all, it is clear that the Council of Ministers’ Rules of Procedure do not sufficiently emphasize the leading role of the Security Council, nor the functions and tasks that it has to perform in terms of national security and defense. It can even be claimed that neither the Security Council Secretariat, nor its administrative structures have such formulated commitments. A similar finding is also valid with regard to accountability for the work done by the Council, which shall be published on the website http://www.saveti.government.bg/web/cc_36/1*. This leads us to the assumption that there is no national mechanism in place for management and interaction between the security system elements, for building and maintenance of the necessary security potential and capabilities, and resilience of security and defense systems.
Secondly, there are a large number of councils and committees with the Council of Ministers; however, their rules of procedure lack the requirement that the decisions taken and the proposals to the Council of Ministers concerning national security must be coordinated with the Security Council. The Portal of Advisory Councils to the Council of Ministers shows that the number of functioning advisory councils with the Council of Ministers is 35. After analyzing the normative acts which create and regulate the work of the most important ones (directly related to national security) – National Radio Spectrum Council, Energy Security Council, National Council on Demographic Policy, National Council on Anti-Corruption Policies, Interagency Council on the Participation of the Republic of Bulgaria in NATO and EU CSDP, Interagency Council on Defense Industry and Security of Supply to the Council of Ministers, Interagency Council on Border Issues, Consultative Council for Assisting the Council of Ministers in shaping the state policy in the sphere of protection against disasters, etc., it was established that they have delegated rights to discuss and submit for adoption by the Council of Ministers proposals, decisions, reports on performed activities, and other matters within their area of competence. However, the rules of procedure of interagency councils lack the logical requirement that these proposals be coordinated with the Security Council. All this deprives of meaning the coordinating role of the Security Council as an assisting body to the Council of Ministers in the defense management of the country!
Thirdly, there is a constant reduction in the composition of the assisting body – the Secretariat. The result is the current situation where actually it does not exist (see the structure of the Council of Ministers administration, stipulated in the Rules of Procedure of the Council of Ministers and its administration). It is absurd that despite the constant expansion of the composition, functions and tasks of the Security Council during the years, the composition of the Secretariat has been constantly reduced. Another paradox is that almost three years after the adoption of the Act for Control of the National Security Protection System, which regulates the functions and tasks of the Security Council Secretariat, practically there is no such functioning structure in the Council of Ministers. For comparison, most of the above-mentioned interagency Councils to the Council of Ministers have secretariats whose activity is carried out either by directorates in the Council of Ministers administration, or by a ministerial department in the cases when the chairperson of the council is head of that ministry or agency.
The analysis of the legal framework shows that at present the Security Council is virtually unable to effectively perform its functions and tasks related to the security and defense of the country. Therefore, it is high time that a suitable solution was found to integrate efforts at the strategic level to manage the maintenance and development of security and defense systems capabilities to guarantee a reliable protection of national interests. In our opinion, this shall happen by strengthening the role and status of the Council of Ministers Security Council, and for the effective performance of its functions, it shall be assisted by a permanent working body – Secretariat.
In order to be fully correct in our analysis of the security and defense systems of the country, we will perform a similar analysis of the functions and role of the President of the Republic under current legislation.
Obviously, our legislation here is not so categorical, and there is even some ambiguity. This is because in pursuit of a real division of powers the legislator has ruled out the possibility that the governing bodies – the President, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament – will actually interact in preparing the country for defense, decision making and organizing interagency interaction. There is no mechanism to involve the president in defense management in peacetime, while he is expected to take it over in wartime. In other words, with the presumption that our country is a parliamentary republic, the legislation stipulates that in peacetime the President of the country has almost no real powers to participate in or manage the processes related to national defense.
Arguments can be revealed by reviewing both the provisions of the basic law of the country – the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the basic normative act regulating these activities – the Law on Defense and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. They are the following:
First of all, the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria does not contain the term “defense”. In return, the word “protection” is used several times, insofar as certain obligations are imposed on Bulgarian citizens. And while we share the assumption that we have an incredibly good basic law, one of its few weaknesses is related to the sharing of responsibilities, functions and tasks related to defense. The powers of the state authorities are regulated by the mechanism of introducing different periods (state of emergency, martial law and wartime) in which the state can function, the powers of: the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria on the implementation of home and foreign policy, the President of the country in his capacity as the supreme commander of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, ministers, etc. However, the responsibilities and rights of decision-making and the organization of interagency cooperation in the field of defense are not regulated anywhere. Thus, there is no clarity between the responsibilities of the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic and, as far as the activities of the armed forces are concerned, they are stipulated by law.8
Secondly, in the Defense and Armed Forces Act of the Republic of Bulgaria, when indicating who performs the defense of the country, the President of the Republic comes before the Council of Ministers and the Minister of Defense, i.e. the Law assigns the leading role to the President of the Republic regarding defense management. Art. 20 of the Defense and Armed Forces Act states that in a military conflict or war, the President declares war, coordinates foreign policy efforts to participate in international organizations and security structures to end the military conflict or war, directs Supreme Chief Command, and others.9 It also stipulates that in wartime or martial law, the country’s defense and internal order are under the authority of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief (the President) and the defense management structures established by him. The Supreme Chief Command assists the Supreme Commander in defense and armed forces management.10
At the same time, the Defense and Armed Forces Act of the Republic of Bulgaria stipulates that the Council of Ministers carries out the general leadership of the defense and the armed forces, controls and implements the state policy of the country in the field of defense (which is, moreover, constitutionally stipulated), plans and adopts plans related to defense and the armed forces development, accepts the National Defense Strategy, etc. In other words, there is some paradoxical contradiction in this “comic” situation: one guides, plans and prepares the defense system in peacetime, and another one takes over and implements the defense activities in wartime. And it is not clear what the rights and responsibilities are, as well as the division of functions between the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic. In this sense, the issue of the personal responsibilities of the individual state leaders (president, prime minister and ministers), as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, is of no less importance, but we will not discuss it here.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the current model for defense management does not comply with the rules of governance. This is because the following principles are not observed: “those who perform are supposed to plan” and “those who use, they shall prepare”, as well as that peacetime and wartime defense management must not differ significantly so that the state can move from peacetime to wartime command without much concussion.
To overcome these inconsistencies and regulatory gaps, we propose the establishment of an advisory body to the President to work in peacetime and to prepare the work of the Supreme Chief Command for wartime. This will be a completely new structure – National Defense Council to the President of the Republic, which will be discussed below.
The second task requires justification of the need to change the security and defense systems management model. From the analysis of the legal framework we have drawn the conclusion that the national legislation does not imply the existence of a single model for security and defense management in peace and wartime, and hence – there is no clear process for decision-making and maintenance of interaction between the institutions at all levels of governance. The strongest arguments can be summarized as follows:
– due to the lack of an authority with specific technical and analytical expertise to support the work of the Security Council, in practice the latter has the status of one of the many advisory councils to the Council of Ministers and is unable to effectively perform its functions and tasks related to national security and defense management. It is necessary to make changes in the legal framework, which will lead to strengthening the role and status of the Security Council to the Council of Ministers, and for the effective performance of its functions it should be assisted by a permanent working body – Secretariat;
– the prerogatives, responsibilities and tasks of the President and the Council of Ministers related to security and defense management are not clearly differentiated. It is a fact that according to the Constitution and the Defense and Armed Forces Act the responsibilities of the President of the Republic and of the Council of Ministers regarding defense management and protection of national interests are provisionally divided into peacetime and wartime. This effectively excludes the President from the defense system management in peacetime when defense capabilities are built and preparation for reaction is undergoing. The role and responsibility of the Council of Ministers in wartime is not clear either;
– the existing model for national defense management does not meet the rules and mechanisms of good governance. It is a fact that the Council of Ministers plans the response and prepares the capabilities of the system in peacetime, while the President and the Supreme Chief Command use these capabilities in wartime. This implies that the transition from peacetime to wartime command will be severely disrupted, leading to a collapse in defense capabilities and the inability to meet defense objectives and tasks.
This, however, is not all! To solve the above mentioned problems, inconsistencies and weaknesses in the construction of the defense system and especially in its management, the objective necessity of elaborating and introducing effective mechanisms for interinstitutional interaction in the management of its individual components arises. This can be done through joint efforts, targeted changes and actions at all levels, simultaneously in several directions.
Firstly, achieving responsible and effective defense system management requires restructuring of the decision-making and competence-building process through a transition from the so-called “vertical-institutional” principle of governance to a “horizontal-integral” one, based on a strong interinstitutional interaction and a conscious ambition to work together.
Secondly, it is necessary to clearly differentiate the rights and responsibilities of the different levels of the defense management system. This requires that the Council of Ministers formulate the main directions related to defense policy, the priorities in capacity building, the distribution of the budget for defense, the implementation of NATO and EU commitments, the coordination between ministries and administrations in the implementation of security and defense activities, etc.
Third, overcoming some specific, inherent and systemic differences between the various structures and components of the defense system. Here, it should be noted that the main challenge to joint management is the existing difference in organizational culture, especially between military and non-military partners.
Fourth, it is necessary to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the process of shaping common and sectoral defense policies. This requires clearly defined priorities, strategy and action plan, prioritization and consistency in building and developing the national defense capability to perform defense tasks, etc.
Fifth, providing a unified environment for information exchange and dissemination at all levels as well as between levels of governance. Improving the exchange of information through integrated communication and information systems and interoperable capabilities is a basic prerequisite for making sound, correct and real-time decisions.
Sixth, the establishment of a unified crisis and conflict management system which, on the basis of integrated civilian and military capabilities, continuously monitors changes under conditions and factors that shape the security environment, anticipates trends in its change, assesses risks and threats to the country and the region, and offers preventive measures and, in the event of a crisis or conflict, takes adequate measures to overcome them and restore the consequences of the crisis/conflict. This will provide early warning and rationality of ongoing sectoral security policies, priority spending on financial resources and maintaining defense capabilities adequate to the security threats to the country.
The seventh direction concerns the creation of a unified system for leadership training of leaders/commanders and managers/experts at all levels of the national defense system. This requires political agreement and the adoption of a national strategy and plan for the creation and development of capable leaders and managers for the needs of state governance at all levels.11
The third task is the most difficult because it requires guidance for a change in the defense management mechanism. Considering all of the above, two options for solution can be drawn. These are: improving the functional architecture of the national defense management model, and the development of an Integrated Model of the National Crisis and Conflict Management System.
We will discuss them sequentially.
As already mentioned above, the first option – improvement of the functional architecture of the national defense management model – can obviously be realized in two directions. The first strand is related to strengthening the role of the Security Council at the Council of Ministers as a single national body for the management of the system and expanding the structure, composition and activity of the Security Council Secretariat. The second strand concerns the establishment of an advisory body to the President – the National Defense Council.
Regarding the role, structure, composition, rights and responsibilities of the Security Council to the Council of Ministers and its working bodies. It is clear now that the strategic body that shall formulate and offer solutions in the area of security and defense in the executive power is the Security Council to the Council of Ministers. Here are some guidelines for changing the organizational and functional architecture of the existing management model to strengthen its role and status.
First, in our view, to make it possible for the Security Council to the Council of Ministers to function as a strategic body, it should integrate the efforts of all state authorities and the public as a whole in order to protect national interests. This means that all the information on security and defense shall be collected, analyzed and aggregated in one place in order to assist in making informed decisions, and these decisions shall be submitted for adoption by the Council of Ministers. All this shall be done by the Security Council with the help of its working body – the Secretariat. The fulfillment of this requirement will ensure a comprehensive approach in assessing the security environment and making decisions (from a system point of view) in the area of national security and defense.
Second, to improve the organizational and functional architecture of the existing National Defense Management Model. For this purpose, the status, functions and tasks of some structures shall be changed, and new ones be created. Suggestions for change can generally be reduced to:
- increase of the powers of the Security Council at the Council of Ministers. In this sense, it shall be able to issue orders within its jurisdiction. Its statutes shall allow, by decision, to task the Council Chairman to issue orders and submit to the Council of Ministers for consideration and adoption draft decisions falling within the competence of the Council of Ministers. Security Council decisions shall be binding for the central and territorial authorities of the executive power;
- within the administration of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, to create a Secretariat to the Security Council which will acquire new capacity, role and responsibility through a significant increase in its administrative, expert and control functions. It will function as an autonomous structural unit in the administration of the Council of Ministers and will act as the main working body of the Security Council. For this purpose, it is necessary to extend the existing prerogatives of the Security Council Secretary, to amend the rules of procedure for that part of interagency and interinstitutional councils to the Council of Ministers which are directly related to security and defense, in a way that translates them into interdepartmental committees to the Security Council. At the same time, they will be obliged to send all their decisions and proposals to the Security Council working body for conciliation and then, with a decision of the Security Council, they will be submitted for adoption by the Council of Ministers (see Figure 1);
- the structure of the Security Council Secretariat will include two types of posts. One type of positions belong to the Council of Ministers Administration (up to 10% of the positions in the Secretariat), and the other one (not less than 90%) are in the respective ministries, institutions, bodies and structures of other institutions, organizations, etc. The following structure would be appropriate: secretary of the Security Council, who will chair the Security Council Secretariat; deputy secretaries for different areas of competence of the Security Council, departments and sectors. The structure of the Security Council Secretariat shall comprise seven departments and sectors as follows: Administrative, Information and Technical Support Department; Department of Public Order and Security; Department “Security in the socio-economic sphere”; Department “Defense and mobilization training”; Information Security Department; Department of Military Security and Diplomacy; Strategic Evaluation and Planning Department.
The main functions of the Security Council Secretariat are related to: information and analytical support to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Security Council; security and defense capabilities building; shaping and improving the state policy in the sphere of national security and defense, as well as control over its implementation; development and realization of the main national defense policy strands related to armed forces construction, defense industry, mobilization training and mobilization, as well as to the fulfillment of NATO and CSDP commitments and the opportunities for military, scientific and technical cooperation in these areas; coordination between central and territorial executive authorities on matters within the competence of the Security Council; managing crises of different nature, etc.
The main tasks of the Security Council Secretariat are related to: elaboration of plans for the Security Council and their transfer to the inter-ministerial commissions in the Security Council, preparation of regular and extraordinary meetings with permanent members of the Security Council, as well as those carried out by operational staff; conducting analyzes and prognosis for the national security and defense, including the sphere of strategic national priorities; evaluation of the effectiveness of the central and territorial bodies of the executive power in preventing or neutralizing internal and external strategic risks; preparation of the annual report on national security, as well as coordination of the report on defense and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria; discussion of draft concepts (plans) for the organization and development of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria; decision drafts for the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria and of the Security Council, in the formulation and implementation of the foreign and internal policy of the Republic of Bulgaria,etc.
Third, to change the status and powers of the other structures and bodies to the Council of Ministers. For this purpose:
- General Inspectorate Directorate in the Council of Ministers administration shall perform the functions of a controlling body in the interest of the Security Council Secretariat, on a preliminary prepared annual plan coordinated with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria;
Fig. 1 Structure of Security and Defense Systems Management Bodies after suggested changes in the management model architecture
- the status of some inter-ministerial councils to the Council of Ministers (except for the Security Council) shall be transformed into an interagency committee to the Security Council. The aim is centralization and improvement of the decision-making mechanism, co-operation and trust between government bodies, institutions, public organizations and citizens;
- in performing its functions, the Secretariat of the Security Council shall interact with the administration of the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly, the President of the Republic, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Prosecutor General of the Republic, the National Investigation Service, the National Statistics Institute, the National Audit Office, the Ombudsman of the Republic, as well as the Central Electoral Commission with the central and territorial executive bodies, political parties and other state and public associations, non-governmental organizations and citizens;
- meetings of the Inter-ministerial Committees with the Security Council shall be held in accordance with their annual and monthly plans (or, depending on the timetable set out in the Commission’s Rules of Procedure), which should as a rule result and be consistent with the planned theme in the annual and monthly plans for the meetings of the Security Council, the strategic planning workshops, as well as other events carried out within the framework of the Security Council.
Concerning the establishment of a consultative body with the President – National Defense Council. In addition to strengthening the role of the Security Council to the Council of Ministers and the assignment of a significantly greater scope of functions and tasks to its working body – the Secretariat, it is also necessary to create a national body to contribute to unity in formulating and implementing policies and in the implementation of national defense strategies. This requires the establishment of a consultative body, a National Defense Council to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria (see Figure 1), for more effective implementation of the powers conferred on it by the Constitution and the Defense and Armed Forces Act and the consequent need for sustainable functioning of the country in the transition from peacetime to wartime.
Thus, the National Defense Council provides conditions for discussing and adopting security-related decisions directly related to wartime defense, on the basis of a political consensus reached, which is then reaffirmed and validated by the relevant Council of Ministers act.
We believe that the composition, the main functions and the powers of the National Defense Council to the President of the Republic shall be the following:
- the composition of the National Defense Council shall include the members of the Supreme Chief Command as defined in the Defense and Armed Forces Act, and depending on the scope of the issues discussed it shall be extended by decision of its Chairman – the President of the Republic. Meetings of the Council shall be convened by decision of the President of the Republic and may be regular and extraordinary. Regular meetings shall be held at least twice a By the decision of the President of the Republic or in case of force majeure, extraordinary meetings are also held. An important note – all permanent members must be present at the Council meetings.
- the functions of the Council shall be related to dealing with issues such as: changes in the defense regulatory framework; review and enhancement of defense capabilities; international defense cooperation within and beyond NATO and CSDP; changes in the architecture of the national defense system; organization and development of the Armed Forces; preparation of the country for defense, etc.
- the competences of the National Defense Council are related to the organization of interinstitutional interaction, which is based on decisions taken by the Council. The preparation of the meetings in organizational, technical and informational terms shall be carried out by the Administration of the President in cooperation with the Security Council Secretariat; in view of the fact that under the Constitution the President of the Republic has no right of legislative initiative, the Council decisions shall be obligatory. This obliges the Prime Minister to submit proposals to be approved by the Council of Ministers, while those outside the competence of the Council of Ministers shall be submitted to the Parliament for consideration and acceptance.
This ensures the desired effect of unity in the actions of all institutions responsible for security and defense. All this is possible without the need to undertake profound structural and administrative changes, or to spend considerable additional financial resources. On the contrary, the above mentioned prerequisites are in place to increase efficiency and effectiveness in managing security and defense systems at all levels.
The second option is to build an integrated Model of the National Crisis and Conflict Management System. All this is caused by the fundamental requirements of modern management and is mostly dictated by the need to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the process of shaping common and sectoral defense policies, creating a unified environment for information exchange and dissemination, conditions for integrating civil and military capabilities into a single Crisis and Conflict Management System.
The justification for the necessity of creating a National Crisis and Conflict Management System is based on a simple truth – such a system does not exist at present in Bulgaria. Yes, there are similar systems in NATO, the EU, in neighboring countries, even the Republic of Macedonia, which is in the process of joining the collective structures, has a long-established similar system. The purpose of this system is to ensure a smooth transition of governance and defense management from peacetime to wartime. Here are some more arguments.
First of all, the existence of a national security protection system is extremely important for the normal and sustained functioning of security and defense systems. One of the requirements of the NATO Crisis Response System Manual11 is for each member state to build and maintain a National Crisis Management System based on the principles, requirements and procedures described in the Alliance document. In 2005, the Law on Crisis Management was adopted in Bulgaria to define the main features of the National Crisis Management System, which includes: management bodies, management centers, communication and information system, reaction forces in time of crises.
The analysis of the system established under the Law on Crisis Management demonstrates that all aspects of system management are covered as a whole; a working mechanism for interinstitutional interaction has been created to cover the areas of leadership, planning, organization, preparation, financing and control. It is worth mentioning here that the legislator at that time considered the Law on Crisis Management as a basic law to be followed by special, functional laws for action in specific crises – as a result of disasters, terrorism, social, political, economic crises, etc. Indeed, just one year later, the Disaster Protection Act appeared to regulate the construction of the Unified Rescue System.
Following the revocation of the Law on Crisis Management in 2009 and the regulatory and systemic vacuum in the national security and defense systems, the state leadership focused its efforts to transfer the functions of the National Crisis Management System to the Unified Rescue System. This, of course, was an absurd decision due to the fact that a functional subsystem of the National Crisis Management System could not perform its basic function. However, awareness of the need for a National Crisis Management System to integrate its individual subsystems has led to an attempt to re-establish it – in 2015 the Law on management and functioning of the national security and protection system was adopted.
We say “an attempt” because it is really a rather vague attempt. You can judge yourself. According to Art. 18, para. 1 of this Law, the National Crisis Management System includes national, institutional and regional situational centers13. In other words, only the centers are mentioned, while the inherent elements of each system are missing – control bodies, communication system, reaction forces. Furthermore, the functions of the National Situation Center are assigned to the Security Council Secretariat and for the first time its functions, respectively the functions of the National Situation Center, are regulated by law14. As of March 2018, however, such a structure does not exist in the Council of Ministers. In addition, a National Situation Center is not functioning, neither are institutional or regional district situational centers.
Second, the National Crisis Management System, which is regulated by the Law on management and functioning of the national security and protection system, does not cover and does not address the actual aspect of the threats in the information space – cyber-attacks and crimes*** that can have a very negative effect on the sustainability of the national security and defense systems.
Analyzes in this area show that in pursuance of the National Cyber Security Strategy15 certain steps have been taken with regard to the appointment of a National Cyber Security Coordinator, the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at the State Agency for Electronic Governance, the establishment of a Military Operational Center for Cyber-defense in the Ministry of Defense, etc. However, there is no information regarding the planned National Cyber Situation Center in the framework of the National Situation Center to monitor the current national cyber situation and to provide a coordinated response to a massive attack, the establishment of a permanent Advisory Council on Cyber Resilience to the Council of Ministers, the adoption of a Plan and Roadmap to build cyber security and cyber defense capabilities.
All this suggests that at least for the time being a large part of the planned tasks on building capabilities of the National Crisis Management System, as well as its subsystem – the National Cyber Security and Resilience System, are not implemented.
Third, a significant weakness of the provisions related to the functioning of the National Crisis Management System is the lack of a clear national mechanism to integrate into a single entity the existing subsystems – disaster protection, early warning, political-military crises (defense), counteracting radicalization and terrorism, etc., in a way that ensures sustainable state governance. As a result, the process of constantly monitoring and assessing the emerging risks and threats of a different nature for national security and defense, in particular, is severely hampered, which in turn leads to difficult prevention and lack of sustainability due to the inadequate security and defense capabilities, and hence reaction, low efficiency, duplication of actions and increased costs.
And fourth, it is possible to conclude from the analysis of the organization of the management process and of the basic functions of the security and defense systems management bodies – the current mechanism of interinstitutional interaction created by the strategic executive body – the Council of Ministers, does not provide for purposefulness, unity of effort, effectiveness and efficiency of the resources used, adequate capabilities of the National Security Protection System and, hence, reliable protection of the national interests. There is an obvious need to implement an integrated approach in the national security protection system, based on the National Crisis and Conflict Management System. Applying this approach creates the conditions to substantially overcome the listed weaknesses of the current crisis management model. Considered in unison with the suggestions for improving the functional architecture of the national defense system management model, we believe that the effects would multiply.
The development of an Integrated Model of a National Crisis and Conflict Management System can be realized in the following ways:
- Improving the legislation and creating conditions for compatibility of the National Crisis and Conflict Management System with NATO and EU systems. This requires:
– to work out a package of special laws on security and defense systems management in crises and conflicts. There is a need for a new law to build the architecture of a unified and integrated National Crisis and Conflict Management System, to define its individual elements, to assign rights and responsibilities, to organize interaction, to ensure necessary resources and to ensure a smooth and sustainable transition of the country to different states (peace and war) and regimes (“state of emergency”, “martial” and “war”).
– to review and update the strategic documents – National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, doctrines, plans, etc., to regulate the issues of the comprehensive nature of the defense system, the National Crisis and Conflict Management System, their components and interrelations, the order to build and maintain national defense capabilities, etc.;
– to develop and adopt a new, well-structured security and defense regulatory framework, including the National Security Act, the Crisis and Conflict Management Act, the Defense Law of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Law on the Military Service in the Republic of Bulgaria, Law on Mobilization training and Mobilization, Emergency Situation Act, Martial Law and Wartime Act, Civil Defense Law, Military Strategy and a number of other acts and documents;
– to develop a package of documents on interinstitutional cooperation (rules, procedures, plans, etc.), including important tasks to be completed jointly. For this purpose, in peacetime, the main ones should be based on a legally prescribed obligation to conclude agreements on interinstitutional cooperation between the parties;
– to systematically organize and conduct practical interaction (exercises, training, situational games) with subsequent refinement and improvement of these documents.
- Building a unified planning system and decision-making procedures for peace and war time To address issues related to the planning and organization of interaction within the defense system, it is necessary to consider the individual activities in terms of resolving crises or armed conflicts. It should be taken into consideration that in the event of crises of a different nature or under immediate threat of aggression, as well as in the course of an armed conflict, it will be necessary to solve a complex set of tasks, such as: management (warning and elimination of consequences) in emergency situations (disasters); preventing the occurrence of border and internal armed conflicts by conducting special operations; countering terrorism; guard and cover of the state border (by land, air and water); bringing the country from peacetime to wartime state (mobilization of resources, economy, mobilization in the interest of the Armed Forces); civil defense (protection); protection of the territory of the country; performing counter-terrorist operations; host nation support, etc.
Under the most unfavorable situation (threat of conflict with medium or high intensity), the above-mentioned issues will have to be solved almost simultaneously.
The conclusion is that overcoming these challenges at present is possible only with the joint efforts of all the structures of the national security system, the state governance bodies, as well as with the maximum mobilization of national resources (tangible and intangible).
- Creating procedures and rules for interinstitutional interaction within the National Crisis and Conflict Management System. This requirement for the National Crisis and Conflict Management System is key to its successful operation. One of the main prerequisites for the successful integration of existing crisis and conflict management systems into a single National Crisis and Conflict Management System is the improvement of interaction between both the military Armed Forces formations, and the interinstitutional interaction as a whole. It is therefore of critical importance, still at peacetime, to determine the rights and responsibilities of the governing bodies at all levels, which will serve as a framework for operation planning.
The emphasis here is on defining mechanisms for re-subordination of the assets of individual institutions under a general leadership/command, and so on. In this sense, it is necessary to clarify the principles and levels of re-subordination of the resources of different institutions within the Armed Forces, as well as of those who will carry out tasks related to disaster relief, civil defense and protection on the territory of the country outside the joint operation area. For this purpose, it is necessary still at peacetime to set clear procedures for the rights and responsibilities of the defense management authorities.
- Clarification of the status and prerogatives of defense management authorities for peace and wartime. The following is to be considered.
First of all, the Defense and Armed Forces Act does not practically stipulate who, and how, will manage national defense. This is due to the fact that the wartime prerogatives of the President, the Supreme Chief Command and the Council of Ministers are not clear.
Secondly, the absence of the Emergency Situation Act and the Martial Law and Wartime Act creates an additional vacuum, especially with regard to the authorities to be set up in the areas where such situations will arise, as well as their rights and responsibilities.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the issues of governance and interaction seen through the prism of the national defense system are crucial to the protection of the territorial integrity of the state, especially since the level of their organization and implementation will affect the number of casualties and the lives of tens of thousands of people. We shall not forget that the effectiveness of governance and interaction in wartime, as a rule, depends on their status and level in peacetime.
Research on the possibilities for improving the defense system management clearly outlines the existing challenges for the state governance and demonstrates the assumption that a profound change in the defense management model is needed. The proposed conceptual guidelines aim at improving the functional architecture of the national defense system on the one hand, and at the same time create opportunities for an in-depth discussion on the subject. Whatever the objections to the proposed solutions, any discussion would be fruitful and timely because it is obvious that the current situation is leading to negative effects on the overall manageability of the defense system.
In case we have provoked some interest or some reflection among the expert circles on these issues, we will assume that we have achieved our goal with this article – to think about the possible positive change in the defense system management. This is another opportunity for the further development of the defense capabilities and hence for a more reliable protection of national interests.
* Maintaining the defense capabilities of the country is an obligation of the state authorities, the armed forces, the local self-government authorities and the local administration, as well as the citizens and the legal entities to which it is entrusted. [Art. 7, para. 1]. Law on Defense and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. [online]. – In: lex.bg The Bulgarian Legal Portal [viewed 3.03.2018]. Available from: https://www.lex.bg/laws/ldoc/2135631954
** Last visit to the Portal of Advisory Councils to the Council of Ministers on 25.02.2018.
*** In 2015, in Bulgaria during the local elections, many attacks were made against the communication and information systems of various government agencies and organizations, leading to the collapse of websites, denial of services and even potential threats to extracting unauthorized information.
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7 Pravilnik za funktsiite, zadachite i organizatsiyata na rabota na Saveta po sigurnostta pri Ministerskia savet. 1998, chl. 5, al. 1 i chl. 6, al. 1 i 2. [pregledan na 1.03.2018]. https://www.lex.bg/bg/laws/ldoc/-13047295
8 Konstitutsia na Republika Bulgaria. 1991. chl. 9, al. 2. [pregledan na 2.03.2018]. http://www.parliament.bg/bg/const
9 Zakon za otbranata i vaorazhenite sili na Republika Bulgaria. 2009, chl. 20. [pregledan na 3.03.2018]. https://www.lex.bg/laws/ldoc/2135631954
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11 Madanski, Veselin, Stoykov, Stoyko, Ivanov, Valeri. Sistemata za obrazovanie i kvalifikatsia v sigurnostta – problemi i reshenia. Doklad na Godishna nauchna konferentsia na Voenna akademia „G. S. Rakovski“. Sofia, 2017.
12 NATO Crisis Response System Manual. 2010. p. 1-7.
13 Zakon za upravlenie i funktsionirane na sistemata za zashtita na natsionalnata sigurnost. 2015, chl. 18, al. 1. [pregledan na 1.03.2018]. https://www.lex.bg/en/laws/ldoc/ 2136588572
14 Zakon za upravlenie i funktsionirane na sistemata za zashtita na natsionalnata sigurnost. 2015, chl. 18, al. 2 i chl. 19. [pregledan na 1.03.2018]. https://www.lex.bg/en/laws/ldoc/ 2136588572
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