moja polska zbrojna
Od 25 maja 2018 r. obowiązuje w Polsce Rozporządzenie Parlamentu Europejskiego i Rady (UE) 2016/679 z dnia 27 kwietnia 2016 r. w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych i w sprawie swobodnego przepływu takich danych oraz uchylenia dyrektywy 95/46/WE (ogólne rozporządzenie o ochronie danych, zwane także RODO).

W związku z powyższym przygotowaliśmy dla Państwa informacje dotyczące przetwarzania przez Wojskowy Instytut Wydawniczy Państwa danych osobowych. Prosimy o zapoznanie się z nimi: Polityka przetwarzania danych.

Prosimy o zaakceptowanie warunków przetwarzania danych osobowych przez Wojskowych Instytut Wydawniczy – Akceptuję

Security is Our Priority

With Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, Mariusz Błaszczak, about advanced armament, systematic strengthening of combat potential of the Polish Armed Forces and the challenges for 2023 talk Magdalena Kowalska-Sendek and Krzysztof Wilewski.

Last year was very busy – the Homeland Defense Act is now in force, and with it, the regulations on the reform on military administration. New solutions provide for rebuilding and modernizing the Polish Armed Forces. However, this passing year meant also the increase in training of Polish soldiers with our allies and the time of war in Ukraine. Will 2023 also be as intensive?

Everything that is now happening in our lives, work and service, to lesser or greater extent has been determined by the ongoing war, or rather a bestial invasion of Russia of Ukraine and Ukrainian heroic defense. As a defense minister, I perfectly know the challenges this situation brings. We live in the conditions of immediate threat from Russia. For that reason, our main direction in 2023 will be further reinforcement of the national military potential. Here, I mean most of all the process of technical modernization of the Polish Armed Forces, and a systematic increase of its force. It is possible to achieve, which have been proved by rapid transactions and deliveries of equipment, such as a series of orders from South Korea, building multi-layer air defense systems in the form of Patriot systems and the programs of short and very short range, namely “little Narwia” and Pilica. We must not forget about Abrams tanks, as our soldiers already operate them.
The upcoming year will bring another deliveries, new contract, intensive trainings, building new military structures in the east of Poland. Let’s hope this year is better for all of us, also for the Ukrainians, who are fighting in the name of not only their freedom, but also ours. Therefore, in 2023, we’re going to continue our support for Ukraine. What’s more, we will be reminding others about this. This, too, is the Polish reason of state.

You’re saying the potential of the PAF should be increased. Where will the new equipment go first?

Wherever the capabilities of the new gear will best to be exploited, with the best effect for the defense of Poland. We take into account geographical, operational and logistic factors, and for that reason, the K2s will go to the 16th Mechanized Division, the Abrams to the 18th Mechanized Division, and the K9s to both of them. The first K2s have already gone to Morąg [20th Mechanized Brigade], and K9s to Węgorzewo [1st Artillery Brigade]. This year, there will be another batches of gear, but also of Abrams and K239 Chunmoo launchers, which will initiate in Poland the formation of new missile detachments, the first ones as part of the 18th Mechanized Division. The FA-50 aircraft will go to the air base in Mińsk Mazowiecki. New equipment will also be directed to the east of Poland, as in this region we need some reinforcement.

To what extent gaining new technologies for the PAF is related with the war in Ukraine?

In 2022, we reinforced ourselves in every domain, although we focused on these capabilities, which were decisive from the perspective of the war in Ukraine, and on those, which required replacement after we gave our equipment to this country. That’s why, we now order so many new tanks, artillery, drones, anti-tank systems, and we have accelerated building of new air defense layers. This is not a question of megalomania, which I am accused of. This is a result of profound analyses and hard work of experts responsible for the army procurement. We have to be capable of defending our homeland. With advanced technology, our soldiers will be more effective and better secured.

At what stage the process of building advanced, integrated air defense and anti-missile system in Poland is right now?
Building of such a system is a long-term and very expensive process. It’s about several thousand of missiles, several dozen radars of various type, thousands of components for communications, command and logistics. The equipment deliveries are planned for several upcoming years. On top of that, there is also a question of training personnel. The transfer from old, post-Soviet anti-aircraft systems from the 1960s to modern network-centric systems is not only a change in equipment, but also a change in the way troops are operating and the way soldiers think.

Why did we choose South Korea as a strategic partner in security and defense, and do our key defense shopping in this country?

Korean contracts give us very advanced equipment in a relatively short time. Time is crucial today: Russia is capable of escalating the tension, agitating, threatening, and we have to expeditiously fill the gaps after donations for Ukraine. The armament from Korea is of high-quality, the world’s first league. A very important aspect of the contracts with Korea was their openness to transfers of technology and know-how. This way, we’re reinforcing our defense industry. It’s about possibly the widest range of transfer of technology and knowledge to the plants of the Polish Armaments Group [PGZ]. We want Poland to become the European production and servicing center for this armament.

Do NATO and EU notice our purchases of new armament, high level of expenditure for defense and expansion of the Polish Armed Forces?

Real gear reinforcements and expansion of military structures place us high in security leadership on the eastern flank of NATO. Our allies see how we approach the issue of defense and military capabilities. Poland also became the logistic and training center in the context of Ukraine, which is also noticeable. The position of Poland on the international arena is getting on significance.

We have already exceeded the NATO norms as regards defense expenditure. We introduced the Homeland Defense Act with additional income sources from the Armed Forces Support Fund [Fundusz Wsparcia Sił Zbrojnych], and we’re increasing annual budget for Polish defense to the level of 3% GDP in 2023. We find ourselves at the historical moment – our defense budget is extremely high. We are at the NATO’s top in this aspect. That’s how leaders behave, and we feel Poland is a leader on the eastern flank of the Alliance. This is confirmed by our American partners, who support building a strong army in Poland. It’s an important declaration, even more so that USA is our biggest and most important ally.

A priority for the Ministry of National Defense is the formation of a well-equipped army, but also a systematic increase of the army personnel. After several months since the introduction of the Homeland Defense Act, what is the Polish Armed Forces strength?

We aim at the army strength of at least 300,000 soldiers – including 250,000 in operational detachments and 50,000 in TDF. This is an ambitious task, but real and possible to carry out. The reform of recruitment and the Homeland Defense Act opened new possibilities for the recruitment and more flexible forms of military service. The main novum and the driving force of recruitment is voluntary military service, which brings us thousands new soldiers. Some of them become professionals, others go to the TDF or stay in active reserve. In 2023, we plan another thousands of candidates for training. In 2015, the Polish Armed Forces strength was 95,000, today it’s over 160,000 soldiers with weapons.

You mentioned new forms of military service. How many volunteers took the opportunities offered by voluntary military service?

Since the first days of the Homeland Defense Act, over 15,000 volunteers participated in the volunteer military service training. Many of them show the skills and willingness to become professional soldiers already in the training phase. We open this door for them, because this is a form of our appreciation for their determination and diligence, but also a new potential for military units. Over 1,000 soldiers were already called up, and close to 2,000 are going through the procedure process, and with every week the number of new soldiers grows up. We all know how valuable is military personnel today. In 2023, thousands of new soldiers will enter service with the voluntary military service. We have prepared 25,000 positions in exercise and training centers. Everyone will be able to express their will to become a professional soldier, and be shifted to the Territorial Defense Forces or stay in active reserve.

To what extent new legal regulations affected the building of reserve forces in our army?

It helped to create new, logical and transparent conditions for building reserves of the Polish Armed Forces. At this point, we have an active and passive reserve forces. We’re catching up for these years when the trainings for reserve soldiers were for some reason suspended. Now, we are testing the possibilities. We have to know what kind of potential we have in this area in a given region, so only those who first participated in military training will go through training for reserve forces. Those who only went through military qualification, will be called up for short, weekend trainings. A well-trained and well-prepared reserve is for the armed forces never to be overestimated, and the skills of those in reserve service may contribute to victory. This obligation lies on us as citizens, because the defense of Poland is our common task.

Various forms of military service is one thing, the other is where such service is to be performed. As of recently, we have been hearing a lot about formation of new divisions and military units. What is the key idea for MoND authorities in the process of rebuilding the army?

As I’ve already mentioned, our priority is the East, as from this direction we are directly threatened. Now in forming is the 5th Podlasie Division, which will be located between the 16th and 18th Mechanized Division. This is going to even more merge and consolidate our defense capabilities to the east of the Vistula River.
We have also managed to recreate several units. The Polish army returned to Lublin, Biała Podlaska or Łomża. Soon, soldiers will also be stationed in new units – in Kolno, Ostróda, Grajewo, and that’s not all. The main idea is to develop and search for new possibilities, so the army is present in Polish cities and towns. The military units will be formed as rapidly as possible. The Poles need that – particularly in the east, because the safety of our citizens is our absolute priority.

One of the elements of building the system of security in Central-Eastern Europe is the increase of the number of US soldiers in Poland. How does the Polish-American cooperation go?

I often speak with my counterpart in the USA, Lloyd Austin. We have similar feeling as to the directions for the military growth which Poland and our region should follow. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the USA significantly increased the number of soldiers on the eastern flank of NATO, also in Poland, where the US presence was doubled. Let me remind you that at the NATO Summit in Madrid in 2022, it was decided about the US Army V Corps Headquarters (Forward) in Poznań, and this is a breakthrough in the cooperation with the United States. For several years now, on the territory of Poland there have been deployed armored brigade combat teams, we also have the US Army Combat Aviation Brigade stationed here, as well as we are hosting the US Air Force aircraft, including F-22s, F-16s, and F-15s.
Strong fundaments for growth of this cooperation in the field of US presence in Poland gives us, signed in 2022, a contract on reinforced defense cooperation between Poland and the United States. Based on the contract, I ordered to start large investments in Powidz, such as building the ammunition and fuel supply points. In 2023, also in Powidz, we will open the depot for equipment and armaments for the US armored forces. It is the first investment of this type in this part of Europe.

We also develop many of joint projects, such as those at the level of army forces in such fields as joint exercises, trainings and preparing soldiers for using US military equipment. The example of such activity is Abrams Academy, where the US instructors train Polish military personnel to operate their tanks.

You have repeatedly said that free and independent Ukraine is of key significance for Poland and the Poles. Did Europe understand that war in this country was not only a problem of Kyiv?

There is no doubt that Russia is trying to rebuild its empire. A hybrid attack on our border with Belarus had only been a prelude to the attack on Ukraine. These are activities directed against free world. Our task is to reinforce the Polish Armed Forces as much as we can, because we cannot allow for the situation where even one little piece of Polish territory was ever occupied by our enemy. We do all we can to help Ukraine defend and push out the Russian aggressor. We support Ukrainian authorities at every level and in every area. As a country, we are home for millions of Ukrainians. We support a heroic fight of Ukrainian army, giving them access to our equipment, ammunition and military know-how. We are not letting this war to become something normal in the minds of Western societies. We keep reminding about it, and we emphasize that this fight to defend Ukraine is a fight to defend Europe and our common freedom.

Magdalena Kowalska-Sendek, Krzysztof Wilewski

autor zdjęć: Maciej Nędzyński/CO MON

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Mr. Mariusz Błaszczak rebuilt the Armed Forces. A true statesman for whom such values as God, Honor and Homeland are no strangers.
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I zdobyliśmy!
 
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Bohater odtrącony
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Zmiany w dodatkach stażowych
Pamiętamy o bohaterach z Piedimonte
Ustawa o obronie ojczyzny – pytania i odpowiedzi
Systemy obrony powietrznej dla Ukrainy
Camp Miron. Amerykańscy specjalsi w Polsce
Święto Oddziału Specjalnego ŻW
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Polsko-australijskie rozmowy o bezpieczeństwie
W obronie wschodniej flanki NATO
„Pierwsza Drużyna” na start
Ameryka daje wsparcie
Na straży nieba
NATO on Northern Track
Flota Bayraktarów w komplecie
Morska Jednostka Rakietowa w Rumunii
Pytania o europejską tarczę
„Przekazał narodowi dziedzictwo myśli o honor i potęgę państwa dbałej”
Wioślarze i triatlonistka na podium
Po przeprawie ruszyli do walki
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Mięśnie czy głowa, czyli jak przejść selekcję
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