Todor Tagarev was born in the town of Stamboliyski, Bulgaria. He graduated the Plovdiv High School of Mathematics (1978), the Air Force Academy in Dolna Mitropolia as a diploma engineer Automatics and Telemechanics (1982), and the US Air Command and Staff College (1994). In 1989, he defended his doctoral dissertation in the N.E. Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy in Moscow.
As an officer, he served as a weapon systems engineer in 25th Air Force Regiment and as a lecturer at the Air Force Academy. As a civilian employed in the defense sector, he held the positions of Director of the MoD Defense Planning and Armaments Policy directorates (1998-2001), Head of the Security and Defense Management Department of G.S. Rakovski National Defense College (2004-2008), Advisor to the Minister of Defense (2009-2010) and Director of the Defense Institute (2016-2017). In the period March-May 2013, he was defense minister in a caretaker government.
In 1995, Todor Tagarev started his research career in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). In 2014, he became a full professor at the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies within the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Tagarev has participated in the activities of a number of NATO and European Defense Agency bodies and groups, in international research teams and in consultancy programs on security and defense governance and management issues in dozens of countries. His scientific works have been translated into 15 languages.
He is married and has three children.