This week the U.S. celebrated 25 years of Combined Education and Training Programs in Bulgaria with an anniversary reception at the Ministry of Defense’s Lozenetz Residence. Our combined education and training programs have enabled 4,757 military officers, enlisted members, and civilian officials from Bulgaria’s Ministries of Defense, Interior, and Foreign Affairs to benefit from the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the Counter Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP), the George C. Marshall Center and the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs. Of these 4,757 Bulgarian participants, 1,721 military and civilians attended prestigious individual courses in U.S. military schools in the United States and Germany. Fiscal Year 2017 alone saw 128 Bulgarian service members and civilians graduate from individual courses in U.S. military schools. Since 1992, the U.S. Government has invested over $220 million in training and equipping programs for Bulgaria. DCM Martina Strong thanked all program participants for their service, and noted, “The strength of our bilateral security relationship has not developed by chance. It is rooted in the well-trained professionals, like each of you, who have attended these training programs and who share a common understanding of how we think and operate in meeting common security challenges.