On July 12th, representatives from the Institute hosted discussions with members of Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry is responsible for Bulgaria’s National Security, it’s National Police Service, the National Service for Combating Organized Crime, Bulgaria’s National Fire / Emergency Safety Service, the National Border Police Service, and Bulgaria’s National Gendarmerie Service. Representatives included Mr. Valentin Miltenov and Ms. Maria Anguelieva-Koleva, members of the Bulgarian Parliament, and Mr. Dennitza B. Nedeva, a senior expert assistant on the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order. Representing the Institute were Dr. Peter Roman, the Institute’s Senior Fellow for National Security Programs, Mr. Alan Capps, a senior analyst and Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Homeland Security, and Mr. John Wohlfarth, an analyst and Editor of the Institute’s Homeland Security Newsletter. The meeting was part of the Institute’s ongoing international outreach program.
Discussion covered a broad range of subjects and areas of interest shared by the U.S. and Bulgaria. The Bulgarian representatives indicated that their trip to the United States was part of a best practices, fact-finding mission for improving Bulgarian internal security. They noted that while the two countries have significantly different security concerns, both have a great deal to learn from one another in terms of managing potential threats.
The Bulgarian delegation noted that debate over internal security and terrorism had begun in Bulgaria well before the September 11th terrorist attacks. In particular representatives from Bulgaria’s parliament noted that civilian control over the military and subordination of intelligence agencies to the popular government are prominent issues in Bulgarian politics at the present time. The Bulgarian delegation also observed how its country is struggling with improving coordination and communication between different agencies and departments, a challenge the United States is also working through.
Finally, the Bulgarian delegation recommended patience in regards to America’s struggle with terrorism. As one delegate noted, “Terrorism is as old as the world.” In other words, the problem is not likely to be resolved quickly.