“This act is not only intended to organise the currently very confusing law relating to the issue of national defence, by abolishing 14 acts, but also, above all, to create legal bases, including financial instruments, for a radical expansion of our army in terms of its personnel composition, its size, as well as its weaponry,”Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński
More money for the development of the Polish army
Higher level of funding for the Polish Army will enable its faster development. As part of the new Act, it will introduce a mechanism that will make it possible to obtain additional funds for arming and modernising the Polish Army as well as increasing its size. An Armed Forces Support Fund will be established at Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. It will be funded, among other things, by proceeds from treasury securities, BGK bonds or contributions from the state budget.
“The Homeland Defence Act includes fundamental changes as far as the armed forces are concerned. It is a project that will build the foundation for the development of the army. A more numerous army, equipped with modern equipment,” emphasised Minister of National Defence Mariusz Blaszczak.
NATO members are required to allocate a minimum of 2 per cent of GDP to defence. Poland is meeting this obligation. Thanks to the new regulations, we will reach the level of 2.5 per cent of GDP in 2024. That is 6 years earlier than previously assumed.
More soldiers in the Polish army
In addition to modernising the army, it is also crucial to increase its numbers. Currently, the Polish Army has about 111,500 professional soldiers and 32,000 soldiers of the Territorial Defence Forces. The new regulations provide that the Polish army will eventually be increased to approx. 300,000 soldiers – 250,000 professional soldiers and 50,000 soldiers of the Territorial Defence Forces.
“Poland must have armed forces adequate to the situation we are facing today – forces that will be able to repel an attack and that will be strong enough to prevent an attack. With sufficient deterrent power to discourage such an attack,” Kaczyński stressed.
New path for candidates for military service
The Act will introduce voluntary basic military service. It will be intended for volunteers who will have to:
• submit an application and undergo recruitment procedures,
• complete a 28-day training course concluded with an oath (the remuneration will amount to approx. PLN 4,400 gross),
• complete a specialist 11-month training (the remuneration will amount to approx. PLN 4,400 gross).
This solution is aimed at increasing the number of professional soldiers and qualified reservists. If a candidate completes the entire process described above, they will be entitled to join professional military service – i.e. they will be guaranteed permanent employment.
Importantly, the Homeland Defence Act does not provide for the reinstatement of compulsory military service.
Types of military service
The Act also changes the division of types of military service. Reserve military service will be divided into active and passive.
Types of military service after the amendments:
• professional (professional soldiers, cadets)
• compulsory (persons undergoing basic and specialist training, persons called up for compulsory or voluntary exercise, mobilised persons):
voluntary (persons undergoing basic and specialist training),
mandatory (in the case of reinstatement of compulsory military service),
• territorial (soldiers of the Territorial Defence Forces),
• reserve (persons who completed military training and took an oath, persons who underwent military entrance processing):
– active (persons who completed military training and took an oath as well as expressed a desire to perform military service),
– passive (persons who underwent military entrance processing without taking an oath, persons who completed military training and took an oath but did not express a desire to perform military service).
Incentives for soldiers
The will introduce incentives so that experienced soldiers can continue to serve. Professional soldiers who have actively served in the military for over 25 years, but no more than 28 years and 6 months, will be able to receive an incentive of PLN 1500.
Meanwhile, professional soldiers who have actively served in the military for over 28 years and 6 months will be able to receive an incentive of PLN 2500.
Homeland Defence Act – other solutions
The new regulations provide for more than merely an increase in the size of the Polish army, higher funding or technical modernisation of the army. The Homeland Defence Act introduces many more beneficial solutions for both the army and the candidates:
• simpler recruitment mechanisms will be introduced,
• the pool of reserve personnel will be increased,
• there will be a system of incentives for candidates for military service and more flexible rules for promotion in the armed forces,
• the “glass ceiling” for privates and non-commissioned officers will be removed. The barriers faced by those who cannot leave the corps of privates or move up to the corps of officers will also be eliminated,
• students of military studies will receive the same remuneration as professional soldiers of the same rank.
SOURCE: The Chancellery of the Prime Minister