Barely six years after it joined NATO, Bulgaria is in the throes of a major military upheaval as it strives to modernize its forces effectively amid severe budget constraints. The Black Sea nation must undo decades of stagnation as a Warsaw Pact member along with more recent missteps during its early modernization efforts.
The Bulgarian government and the industry members who support it are battling to move the country’s federal technology forward as the worldwide economic downturn continues. Though times are difficult, public- and private-sector personnel are forming partnerships to advance programs crucial to military and other operations. Entities within the country as well as outside of it, including NATO, are coming together as part of these efforts. By keeping an eye on better times ahead, people in the nation’s information technology field hope to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.
Bulgaria’s technology sector enjoyed healthy growth rates in the late 1990s and the early part of this century, but that growth has largely flatlined due to the worldwide banking crisis and resulting recession. With the downturn in the economy, the government has scaled back spending in some high-profile military and advanced technology efforts. In the summer of 2009, for example, the government killed a planned nanotechnology center in an effort to save 50 million Bulgarian lev, which equals roughly $33 million. The cancellation occurred just months after the government announced an agreement with IBM to build the center.