Currently, the Ministry of National Defence is translating the recommendations into concrete administrative acts, with several of them already implemented. They cover a wide scope of areas, including the principal courses of action to be adopted by the whole Government.
Catalogue of Tasks for the Polish Armed Forces
We hope that in the long-term our region will remain peaceful. Nevertheless, the analysis of changes in our security environment forces us to increase our efforts to review defence policy. The proposed reforms are distinctly defensive in their nature.
In 2032, Polish Armed Forces have to show readiness in every aspect: they have to own state-of-the art, powerful military equipment, well-trained troops as well as tested and verified procedures. We will try to keep in our reserve a part of ageing, but properly modernized equipment. The command and control system should be clear and ready for immediate reaction in the time of crisis and war. Polish leadership must have full situational awareness and adequate military support to facilitate an effective decision-making process. Poland will maintain its contribution to NATO activities and will strengthen cooperation with its Allies.
The future Polish Armed Forces have to be prepared to co-operate with other governmental agencies and services in the crisis management operations, both on the territory of Poland and other allied states. This objective becomes particularly important in light of the growing use of irregular warfare in our neighbourhood. Some situations may require a coordinated response from both military and non-military institutions.
In spite of focusing on the main objective of defending the territory of Poland, we will remain prepared to undertake operations abroad. We are committed to reinforcing a stable international order. Our contribution will be constructive, but it cannot significantly deplete our national defence potential. To achieve this goal, we are going to declare concrete capabilities and formations which will be deployable to international missions in the framework of Polish Military Contingents. We will make every effort to acquire equipment equally effective for fulfilling both the needs of our national defence and those of foreign missions.
The Model of the Polish Armed Forces in 2032
The most important outcome of the Strategic Defence Review of 2016 is the model of the future Polish Armed Forces showing the direction of changes to be introduced in the coming fifteen years.
This model was built by means of an analytical process using the Delphi method, lessons learned (including observations from the recent armed conflicts, such as the one in Ukraine), expert opinions, strategic war-games and cost-effect analyses. Important feedback was provided by the “ZIMA-17” command post exercise. The model was prepared by a team of over 50 experienced officers with various specialisations representing all services and branches of the armed forces. The team endeavoured to work out an optimal solution resulting from the operational needs and the financial resources of the country as well as the most demanding scenarios of our international security realities. Specific decisions following the recommendations from the exercise are still to be verified, because one of the priorities of the envisaged defence planning process will be the ability to react quickly and effectively to changes in the security environment of the country. General directions, however, were already sketched.
NATO remains the world’s most powerful military alliance, and Poland will make every effort to ensure that it remains a guarantor of peace and prosperity in Europe. The North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the European Union, have contributed to producing unparallel stability of the continent. An important element of this architecture will be the continuation of the military and political engagement of the United States. We see very positive prospects for further development of our military cooperation with Washington.
Additionally, an essential element of our security will be enhancing military cooperation in our region, especially in the Baltic Sea, among the members of the Visegrad Group, with Romania and all other countries on NATO’s Eastern Flank. This cooperation should manifest itself in the intensification of exercises, the creation of joint commands and units, and – if possible – in the joint acquisition of military equipment. We see outlooks for strengthening our partnership with Berlin. With Germany and Denmark, and with cooperation of other Allies, we jointly maintain the largest corps-level headquarters in the region. We want to retain its crucial role for the security of NATO’s Eastern Flank. Simultaneously, we plan to establish an additional command HQ in Cracow, with the aim of facilitating regional cooperation, including within the framework of EU missions. We look forward to increasing involvement by Great Britain in the region and we count on consolidating our bilateral bonds.
The Polish Armed Forces in 2032 will be one of the most modern and most numerous militaries in Europe. They will consist of five services: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Forces, and Territorial Defence Forces. The prerequisite for success will be their ability to interact with each other in joint operations, especially between the operational forces and Territorial Defence Forces. The emphasis on such integration will be placed in the expanded programme of exercises and war-games.
As a result of the research and analysis, the Land and Air Forces remain the key elements of the Polish defence. The SDR analytical process proved a need to establish a new (fourth) division of operational forces. We will strive to multiply firepower which will lead to the creation of deterrent capabilities. The means to reach this goal will be the introduction of assets diminishing enemy’s combat capabilities, without destabilising the international order, e.g. resulting in high civilian casualties. The Special Operations Forces will increase their potential, both with respect to conducting high-intensity operations and their participation in lower-intensity operations abroad. The Territorial Defence Forces will achieve its full potential by providing them with increased firepower. It will make them capable of fulfilling various tasks, predominantly cooperating with operational forces and mainly acting as light infantry units. They will also be ready to counter hostile irregular warfare and provide assistance in crisis management operations. The Navy will also play a significant role by defending our coastline and denying enemy supremacy over the southern Baltic Sea.
Engineers and other combat support troops will play an ever-increasing role. We intend to place more emphasis on operational camouflaging, of which has not been fully taken advantage. We will also re-establish river crossing capabilities.
Cyber units will be responsible for ensuring cyber security on a continuous basis by coordinating and supervising activities in the cyberspace. The Polish Armed Forces will be prepared to operate in the dynamic information environment, both proactively and by reacting to hostile actions. The functioning of military institutions and services responsible for data gathering will be integrated.
The development of the modern Polish Armed Forces will require prudent acquisitions and the designation of appropriate directions of research. These acquisitions need to be based even more than today on disciplined data analysis. Proposed procurements must be rigorously verified by means of exercises and simulations. Tools for operational and financial modelling, which will help the defence planning process become more realistic, will have to be developed. This issue requires the creation of a system of operational testing and research dealing with organisation of the military.
We will support the introduction of new technologies allowing us to decrease current strategic asymmetry. The availability of new assets increasing our firepower in terms of range and precision will enhance our deterrence potential. To help achieve this goal, the process of modernisation of the Polish Armed Forces will be accompanied by achieving one of the highest levels of defence spending in NATO, which by 2030 should reach 2.5% of our GDP as a minimal objective. Thanks to an expenditure rationalizing process, we will increase defensive capabilities of our country and of the whole region.
The command and control system of the Polish Armed Forces will be improved not by a thorough reorganisation of the existent structure. We will restore divisions as true tactical combat units, and not merely administrative entities. By 2032 we will possess autonomous systems enabling commanders to grasp the full operational picture and to take faster decisions. The flow of information across all echelons of command will be improved. The data-sharing system will be adjusted to the conditions of a battlefield with a high level of jamming. Intelligence will be gathered by sophisticated reconnaissance assets operating right from the lowest organisational level in a friendlier legal environment and with advanced technological support (i.a. unmanned platforms). The strategic-level reconnaissance toolbox will include national satellite capabilities. The process of procurement and implementation of new sensors will be one of our priorities.
Significant resources will be invested in order to increase effectiveness of operational fires, which is a key to achieving effective deterrence. We will put additional attention on the development of tube and rocket artillery, which when employed in combination with the new attack helicopters, will enable the delivery of more effective firepower. We will strive to rely not only on traditional weaponry, but also exploit relatively recent technologies such as directed-energy systems. By 2032, we will introduce new air and missile defence systems procured in the Narew and Wisła programmes. We will invest more in the development of electronic warfare technologies, which will become a significant element of our firepower tailored to our operational needs. A crucial element of our deterrence force will be played by the Air Force equipped with long-range precision weapons and the 5th generation combat aircraft, the number of which will steadily grow. Due to the reinforcement of the coastal missile units, manned and unmanned reconnaissance platforms, modern mine warfare and submarines, we will greatly increase our capabilities to protect our coastline. The above adjustments will contribute to the establishment of our national A2/ AD potential.
We will continue to introduce new armoured vehicles, which are more resistant to enemy fire. A special emphasis will be put on developing a new generation tank, potentially through international cooperation.
The first and foremost goal of the future Polish Armed Forces will be the ability to mobilize for conducting effective collective defence operations, not the struggle for superiority or projection of power.
We will create a new, effective system of logistical support for the troops, operating on the principle that each division will be assisted by its own organic support and supply unit in order to conduct autonomous operations. The Polish Armed Forces will operate in accordance with an intensified schedule of exercises, both in the national and allied frameworks. The former will result from a training doctrine integrating the new national defence plan. It will take into account the need for cooperation between the operational units and the newly formed Territorial Defence Forces. The training process of individual units and in the specialist training centres will be better synchronised.
The duty in the Polish Armed Forces should always be considered as an opportunity to serve the country. At the same time, we wish it also to be a chance for each soldier to improve his or her individual qualities and skills. Demographic trends concerning all of society are a crucial factor for the manning of the military. In order to respond to this challenge, the army will be required to undertake actions in many areas, including steps to improve the image of the military as an employer. It is crucial to create better conditions and new incentives for specialists within narrow fields of expertise who are also in demand on the competitive civilian labour market.
The education and training system will be adjusted to the evolving needs of the military. It will be manifested, among others, by better job preparation for civilian personnel. Civilian oversight over the military will be reinforced by the broader participation of civilian experts in the Ministry’s workforce.
The analysis conducted during the Strategic Defence Review of 2016 showed that professionalisation had been carried out in a misguided manner. Even though we will try to be flexible (e.g. proposing opportunities for manning cyber units), all forms of military service will be unified. Soon, we will inaugurate new forms of short-term military training, which will be based on volunteers. For the first time in 30 years, the number of soldiers and civilian employees will grow significantly. In the next eight years, the total number of Polish Armed Forces will exceed 200,000 troops, including the Territorial Defence Forces. Accordingly, it will create the necessity for systematic monitoring of the all personnel with a capability to make necessary adjustments in order to increase the number of recruits. Those changes will also create a need for new infrastructure, which has been reduced in the last decades. Weapons and equipment alone do not constitute defence capabilities. With regard to the growing complexity of the modern battlefield, the quality of training and doctrine will be of even more importance. The training of soldiers will be intensified at all levels and a special priority will be given to the support ofthe jointness of operations, situational awareness, creativity and commanders' initiative. We will restore the role of operational art. Another priority will be the restoration of the prestige of the non-commissioned officers corps.
Command and Control System of the Polish Armed Forces
Changes in the command and control system are the most urgent need for the Polish Armed Forces, and their effects will be seen already in 2018.
The priority in this matter is a simplification of the whole system, a clear separation of responsibilities amongst commands, as well as strengthened the hierarchy and establishing a clear designation of the highest ranked commander. Issues related to command and control will be sorted out in one comprehensive legal act subject to approval by the parliament.
The reform of the command and control system will empower commanders charged with leading the military during conflict to have more leverage on the development of the armed forces during peacetime. The new system will facilitate the transformation during escalation from peace to war. Senior civilian and military leadership will participate in an intensified programme of exercises and staff trainings – they will also regularly participate in war-games organised by a special cell within of the Ministry of National Defence. Conclusions from such activities will have an influence on the operational plans and the development of the Polish Armed Forces.
After the reform, the role of the “first soldier” will be played by the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and the subordinated new commands of the individual services of the armed forces: Land Forces, Air Force, Navy, Special Operations Forces, and Territorial Defence Forces. The Chief of the General Staff will be also responsible for commanding the armed forces in the country and abroad, as well as planning of their strategic employment. The reform of the system was designed so as to be coherent with the proposed model of the 2032 Polish Armed Forces. The General Command of the Armed Forces and the Operational Command of the Armed Forces will be disbanded. The tasks of the former will be transferred to service commands, and the tasks of the latter to the newly established Training and Command Inspectorate, which will also coordinate training issues. Both the Training and Command Inspectorate and the Support Inspectorate of the Armed Forces will be subordinated to the Chief of the General Staff. He will be supported by two deputies, responsible for the planning of defence operations and for the support of the armed forces respectively. Due to the importance of logistics, the Support Inspectorate of the Armed Forces will be elevated to the strategic-operational level.
The General Staff will be a part of the Ministry of National Defence, following the guidelines of the leadership in order to ensure civilian control of the military. The officers of the General Staff will be implementing defence policy guidelines created in the reformed MOND Defence Policy Division and approved by the civilian leadership of the Ministry.
It is obligatory to change not only the command and control system of the armed forces, but also of the whole national defence process. Polish leadership should consider this issue promptly. A special exercise, the first of its kind in the last thirteen years, will be helpful for achieving this goal. The desired end state should be unification of the command and control system of our defence. The system should be more effective and easily adjustable to achieve higher states of combat and crisis readiness.
National Defence as a Whole Nation Effort
Effective defence requires effective coordination between the military and other state institutions.
The Council of Ministers, other central bodies, local authorities and business enterprises of critical importance to the country’s security, should also be ready for mobilisation. This domain had been neglected during the previous decades by adopting unrealistic assumptions pertaining to the security of the country, such as assessing the risk of a military conflict in the region as “marginal”. It degraded the meaning of defence issues in many institutions. The Strategic Defence Review Team decided to make the reconstruction of such capabilities as one of the top priorities.
Although we are taking merely the first step in the right direction, we wish to start with appropriate regulations. We will strive to codify the defence law. The legal basis for non-military national defence preparations will be covered in one parliamentary act. It will define, among other things, the special role of Territorial Defence Forces, and it will clearly determine the responsibilities of the central bodies in the sphere of defence preparations as well as their relationship with the Ministry of National Defence. We will work in favour of increasing defence awareness of the country’s leadership.
The main requirement for the effective mechanism of response of the whole country to emergencies or military threats will be practical solutions. The defence ministry will create a new system of incentives for the entrepreneurs qualified to participate in the Economy Mobilisation Programme. It will be simplified to benefit both the Ministry of National Defence and business.
The rules to initiate this programme will become more flexible, so that in the risk of war, mobilisation could be made well in advance of hostilities. While conducting national level infrastructure planning, we will attempt to incorporate the needs of the Polish Armed Forces much better than in past.
The systems of acquisition and utilisation of military equipment will be simplified and their processes optimized. The analytical-conceptual phase will be shortened and the number of entities involved in the process will be reduced. At the same time, we will strive for more effective equipment management through monitoring its whole life-cycle costs. All the above issues will be dealt with in more detail in the document "National Armaments Policy".
The rules of cooperation with the pro-defence organisations will be simplified and systematised. The perpetual priority of the ministry will be the encouragement of patriotic attitudes and other values favourable for shaping the Polish defence culture. We wish to strengthen civic awareness with regard to the situation in the direct vicinity of the country and the role of the Polish Armed Forces in providing for its security.
Defence Policy Based on Data Analysis
Regardless of diverse visions for the military development, which are natural in any democratic state, the Polish government should have the opportunity to pursue its defence policy based on comprehensive data analysis.
To this end, the Ministry’s Defence Policy Division will be reformed and reinforced. Analytical capabilities in such areas as the assessment of the security environment, planning of the Polish Armed Forces development, and the overall evaluation of national defence, will be created. The team will create guidelines for both the military and non-military defence planning (in cooperation with the General Staff). The organisation of the analytical process will rely on a dedicated expert group within the Ministry, which will be tasked with aggregating knowledge from the currently existing public and private institutions. It will use not only classic analytic techniques, but also specialised IT tools, as well as continuously updated war-games and simulations.
The focal mission of the reformed Defence Policy Division will be the coordination and formulation of defence policy taking into consideration both political requirements and the specific needs of the whole defence system. The Division will coordinate both military and non-military preparations. Another task of the Defence Division will be to draft documents of strategic importance for the Ministry’s leadership. The Defence Policy Division will also conduct analyses concerning selected areas of strategic importance of the defence system.
The Strategic Defence Review of 2016 was innovative and initiated important changes. Nevertheless, we should all strive to perfect its methodology, to build appropriate databases and to create a permanent mechanism of learning and fulfilling the needs of the Polish Armed Forces. The review will be thus a cyclical process, conducted according to a set methodology and supported by proper analytical tools. It will become a mechanism of cooperation with key Allies. Its organisation will be managed by a specialised cell within the Defence Policy Division.
The report of the Strategic Defence Review of 2016 will be the most important strategic document of the defence ministry. The implementation of its recommendations and the assessment of its results will be continuously checked in order to systematically settle the objectives set by the defence ministry.