The Homeland Defense Act gives us the conviction that we are strong, and that we will be even stronger.
Hard times require making brave decisions and changes. For that reason, the introduction of a new act a year ago – the Homeland Defense Act (HDA) – was for Poland and our armed forces extremely important. The act is to provide us with security and freedom for growth. The importance of this decision can be perceived particularly in the context of the war currently ongoing right behind our borders. The introduction of this complex document, which normalized the issue of defense in Poland, is a breakthrough event for our society. The main goals of the document were: regulation of a system of technical army modernization and its financing, as well as the issues related to the military service; increasing defense budget and army strength; recreating the reserve system; and increasing training capabilities for soldiers. The Homeland Defense Act, replacing other, archaic regulations, brought a new legal order, and condensed the military law in one document. In the dynamics of our times and our defense needs, it is a turning point for the Polish Armed Forces.
Record Budget for Defense
The HDA increased the defense spending up to 3% of Polish GDP, which is over 96 billions zlotys. The BGK Armed Forces Support Fund (BGK, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego) was funded, which is additional source of budgeting for army modernization. Such level of financing of our armed forces places us among NATO leaders as regards spending money for defense.
The effects of record financing of defense expenditure can already be seen, but we should remember that tasks aiming at army modernization had been started earlier. Recent years have been the time of fast and effective equipment procurements, which helped us to continue the reinforcement of our army. Poland’s security is our priority, and we will not save on that.
War in Ukraine proves us every day that we need tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense for effective fight. It turns out that those who had once announced that wars would now be ruled by new rules were not right. The conflict in Ukraine revealed that the land forces and military personnel are still of crucial importance.
Soon or very soon, Polish military units will have the best and most state-of-the-art military equipment in the world. These are: 5-generation aircraft, Patriot systems and HIMARS, Abrams tanks, Black Hawks helicopters, Bayraktar and Reaper drones, but also hundreds of machines from the so-called Korean contracts – K2 tanks, K9 howitzers, and Chunmoo systems. Moreover, our soldiers are getting the best new products of Polish defense industry, such as Krab howitzers, Rak self-propelled mortars, Piorun anti-aircraft missile systems and Grot assault rifles, and soon they will also get new Borsuk IFVs. That is only a part of the catalogue with new equipment for the Polish Armed Forces. As a result of constant mechanisms building stable financing of defense, as well as simplifying the system of gaining equipment, Poland has efficient tools for unprecedented modernization of its armed forces.
Higher Wages and Better Potential for Growth
The average monthly remuneration in the Polish Armed Forces – with benefits – is today about 7,900 zlotys, and a soldier, who today joins the army, receives as much as 4,960 zlotys. We have introduced attractive motivational benefits and new benefits for many years of military service. It is one of the most important priority items. Soldiers must feel secure about the living conditions of themselves and their families. For that reason, we introduce cyclic pay raises, we increase multipliers and decide on additional benefits in order to, on one hand, encourage candidates to join military service, and on the other hand, give additional reason to stay in service.
Building Large Army
Recent experience show that army must not only own modern equipment, but also be large. For that reason, we encourage the Poles to join the army. We have simplified our recruitment procedures, transformed voivodeship conscription authorities into military recruitment centers coordinated by the Central Military Recruitment Center. All these actions are effective, as since the introduction of the HDA, it has been a record increase in the number of new soldiers.
Almost 14,000 professional soldiers have joined the Polish Armed Forces, and today our army strength is over 167,000 soldiers, including 36,000 TDF soldiers. This is a result of successful social and promotional campaigns and creating a modern, simple, red-tape-free recruitment system, but also the introduction of new, flexible form of military service. Since the new act entered into life, a voluntary military service has been carried out by 25,000 soldiers, and almost 9,000 of them were conscripted for a professional military service. We would like to have the Polish Armed Forces as large as 300,000 soldiers, including 50,000 of TDF soldiers.
After formation and certification of the second division in the east of Poland – 18th Mechanized Division – we are now forming another one: the 1st Legions Infantry Division, which will effectively strengthen the eastern border of Poland and eastern flank of NATO. We form new units, we rebuild liquidated and expand existing ones, mainly those in the east of Poland. The most state-of-the-art equipment also goes mostly to this region of Poland. We know from where to expect a threat, and which part of our territory should be particularly strengthened.
We are building an advanced and large army with good allies. For many months, we have been sending a clear message out to the world – we are ready for deterrence, but also for effective defense. Referring to a well-known saying: we want peace, but we are getting ready for a war. The Homeland Defense Act allows us to claim: we are strong, and we will be even stronger, because we are building one of the most powerful armies in Europe.
autor zdjęć: 16 DZ