Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Bulgarian Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov signed a 10-year road map designed to chart the defense cooperation between the two countries over the next ten years.
The road map between the two countries looks for ways for both countries to fix gaps in military capabilities while improving interoperability.
Bulgaria and the United States are NATO allies. Esper praised the Balkan nation as they dedicated 3 percent of gross domestic product toward defense in fiscal 2019.
“This road map will give us a chance to not only intensify our bilateral relations, but to be individually beneficial to each other’s national defense. Also, to be beneficial to NATO … to be able to counter the malign intentions of our adversaries,” Karakachanov said through an interpreter.
It also establishes a framework for the continuous development of Bulgaria’s military readiness and capabilities over the next decade through sustained cooperation between the two nations.
Bulgaria is a front-line NATO state. Therefore the nation plays a critical role in protecting NATO’s eastern flank.
“We, of course, share many security interests, particularly issues such as Black Sea security, defense modernization and security cooperation,” Esper said.
Esper said he would like more NATO allies to reach at least the 2 percent goal of GDP to be committed to defense.
“I encourage you and our other alliance members to pay to push for 2 percent of the GDP spending target and to make the needed investments to enhance your capabilities and capacity. Because you know, I believe that 2 percent should be a floor, not a ceiling,” concluded Esper.