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Defence and Security Policy

Strengthening of combat potential and improvement of operational capabilities, including priority treatment of the north-east flank by, among others, acceleration of the formation of the 18th Mechanized Division, increase in the completion of the 16th Division and reconstruction of the anti-tank regiment in Suwalki - these are the main assumptions of the Armed Forces Development Program for years 2017-2026. The regulation establishing the Program was signed 28 November 2018 by Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.

The program for the development of armed forces determines in detail scope of modernization of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland and plans of harmonious development concerning all operational abilities, training system and dislocation of military units for the coming years. The document also defines current order of battle of the Armed Forces. The Armed Forces Development Program is a classified document and forms the basis for further detailed planning work at subsequent levels of management and command. The next step will be to develop and refine its content in the form of derivative plans (major and complementary), including the issue of the Technical Modernization Plan for 2017-2026.

At the end of May 2018 the Council of Ministers adopted the "Detailed directions of reform and technical modernization of the Armed Forces for 2017-2026". The document is indispensable for concluding long-term contracts. The resolution is the basis for programming the development of armed forces. The current leadership of the Ministry of National Defense puts as the priority the modernization of the equipment of the Polish Armed Forces and making the necessary organizational changes that will allow effective service in protection of the independence of our country and ensuring the security and inviolability of its borders. September 18th, this year the Council of Ministers adopted the draft amendment of bill on the reform and technical modernization and financing of armed forces developed by the Ministry of National Defense. The amendment provides for extending the planning period from 10 to 15 years and updating these plans every 4 years. On November 22nd, the project was discussed and accepted by the Senate.

Poland's top goal in security policy is to protect the functioning of the democratic, independent and sovereign state, its territorial integrity and the inviolability of its borders, and the respect of civil rights and freedoms. By basing its policy on partnership and co-operation, Poland wants to contribute to building an enduring, just and peaceful order in Europe and throughout the world, developing a system of co-operation founded on democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law, and solidarity. Poland conducts its security policy as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union, and by participating in political dialogue within the framework of the Common Foreign Policy and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union and the European Union's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

In the conduct of its security policy, Poland fulfils its obligations resulting out of its membership in international organisations: the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Poland makes its contribution to international co-operation through the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

Poland, first as an associated partner (since 1994) and later as an associated member (since 1999) of the European Union, and since 2004 as a full rights member is fully empowered to participate in the meetings and projects in the area of defence of the European Union, and is entitled to take part in EU military operations, to which it commits forces. Poland declared itself after increasing of the ability of EU to react independently or in the co-operation with NATO in the critical situations. Poland also wants to have its contribution in the creating of the European Agency for. Defence Ability and Research.

Poland was among the proponents of a pan-European conference to weaken the political and military rivalry between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. One of the results of the political dialogue between East and West was the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (from 1995: the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe). The Final Act of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe, signed in August 1975, established a framework for peaceful co-operation between the countries "from Vancouver to Vladivostok".

In 1998 Poland took over the chairmanship of OSCE. One of the principal achievements of Polish Chairmanship was the Organisation's engagement in the resolution of the Kosovo conflict through the creation of an OSCE verification mission (with the objective of early warning and conflict prevention). Poland actively participated in the debate on the reform of OSCE, which aimed to increase the Organisation's effectiveness. Poland attaches great importance to the solutions of the threats for the safety in the area of so called human security and the combat with terrorism.

The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council is the continuation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) and it builds on its achievements. NACC, replaced in 1997 by EAPC, provided Poland with a form for comprehensive dialogue and consultations with NATO and partner countries on security-related issues. The participation in EACP allows its members to change the experiences in the area of the reform of the military forces, the reaction in crisis, and also to build the civilian - military relations based on the democratic patterns.

Through its long years of participation in the United Nations peace-keeping operations Poland gained significant international recognition, while Polish contingents are highly valued for their professionalism and efficiency. This was reflected in the election of Poland as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 1996-1997. About 30,000 Polish personnel had taken part in various foreign peace-keeping missions by 2009. Poland supports actions to resolve conflicts and strengthen the processes of democratisation in the Balkans. In 1996 Polish soldiers took part in the Implementation Forces (IFOR) and since 1997 until now they have been participating in the Stabilisation Forces (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1999 Polish personnel took part in a humanitarian mission to Albania as part of the multinational NATO forces (AFOR), and from 1999 up to the present in NATO's Kosovo Forces (KFOR). At present Polish units are participating in the following UN peace-keeping operations: UNDOF (Golan Heights), and UNIFIL (South Lebanon), and a Polish Special Police Unit in UNMIK (Kosovo). Poland was participating in 10 out of 15 current peace-keeping operations as of 2009. This puts the country in 12th position on the United Nations list of contributing nations.

Development co-operation has become an integral element of Polish foreign policy - this has been demonstrated by numerous actions undertaken by the foreign policy sector for developing countries as well as countries in transition. Poland earmarks financial resources for development and humanitarian assistance to these countries, in amounts corresponding to its current capability and its involvement in international aid organisations, especially of the UN system. In the years 1998-2002 Poland granted over US $179 million in development aid to developing countries and countries in transition. In October 2003 Polish government adopted the general "Strategy of Polish co-operation for development" - a strategy of humanitarian aid and aid for development. Polish development aid is provided in co-operation with non-governmental organisations.

On 19 November 2001, the European Union's Capabilities Improvement Conference was held. Having determined the specific contributions to the European armed force, the Fifteen discussed how to remedy the shortfalls in armaments and equipment under the Headline Goal, as identified by the EU military. The main subject in turn of the combined session of ministers of foreign affairs and defence on 20 November in the formats of '15+15' (the EU members and the associated states) and '15+6' (the EU members and the non-EU European NATO states: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland and Turkey) was to identify in more detail the contributions of the third countries to the EHG. The Polish offer submitted at the time includes: two battalions (18th airborne assault battalion, 6th airborne assault brigade; and 7th airborne cavalry battalion, 25th airborne cavalry brigade). In qualitative and quantitative terms, it fell short of an earlier Polish proposal regarding the EHG -- a so-called Frame Brigade. It was quite radically changed, according to EU expectations and Polish capacities.

A six-year development program was prepared by the government in 2001 and adopted by parliament by an overwhelming majority, reflecting a national consensus on defense needs. The new left-wing coalition government took up this program, marking a departure from previous practice of every new government coming up with its own solution to defense problems. The new program envisaged armed forces of 150,000 soldiers, of which 55% were to be career servicemen. There were no plans to create an all-volunteer force. A switch to a career army would take a decade and require a possibly unbearable increase in defence expenditure.



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