The times of guarantees of eternal peace and security in Europe are behind us. Today, every scenario of armed confrontation in our region must be considered probable. Poland must reckon with the possibility of armed conflict and prepare accordingly. The Warsaw Enterprise Institute and the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers in the published report “Poland’s security strategy” present possible scenarios of the course of events and offer recommendations for the state administration.
The report is an attempt to answer the questions concerning the fundamental challenges facing Polish defence. The authors offer a structured train of thought about our security and concrete solutions that can strengthen the national security system and provide our armies with adequate military capabilities. The report cannot replace the national defence strategy, an extended document based on classified data and detailed simulations, but Poland currently does not have a general strategy document, either publicly available or classified, which would set the boundary conditions for Poland’s security. Such a document ought to be developed and accepted by all political forces for which the survival and development of the Polish state are an important issue.
“State security is a vital issue for every Pole, that is why citizens not only have a full right, but also an obligation to discuss security strategies as well as co-shape them. The report by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers and the Warsaw Enterprise Institute is the vox populi in the public debate that should take place but does not. We do not want in any way to replace the state institutions set up to develop a security strategy, but the survival of the state lies in our common interest, so the voice of the people should resound and be taken into account. Thus, our report is an invitation to a discussion,” says Andrzej Talaga, Director of strategy at WEI.
In spite of the faith in the good intentions of our allies and their will to fulfil their obligations under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, we must not base our defence almost exclusively on support from NATO. Because it is not absolutely sure. We must build the potential of self-defence. Only this will ensure Poland’s security. This means create the potential for deterrence and defence based on the efforts of the society as a whole.
The current number of military personnel, especially trained reserves, is insufficient to effectively defend the country. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the reserve and other additional forces so that, ultimately, it is possible to mobilise a million armed Poles and Poles for war. This is due to the fact that Poland cannot afford to build a deterrent system for a potential aggressor based on precision weapons. It is worth acquiring it, but practice shows that it is quickly used up. Deterrence should then be based on the mass resistance of the armed nation – a total defence. The task of total defence will be executed most effectively by mean of general defence, a citizens’ militia that will fight alongside regular operational forces and the Territorial Defence Forces. Their task will be to draw their opponent into a swamp of a long-lasting, destructive, irregular war.
Poland will also face big challenges in the area of financing. Current and planned expenditure on defence are unfortunately insufficient. Poland must spend 3.5 percent of its GDP over the next decade for military purposes in order to build capabilities for self-defence and increase the number of armed forces and reserves. The planned level of 2.5 percent GDP by 2030, with the simultaneous increase in the number of the military personnel, is too modest and may ultimately lead to a reduction in the budget for the purchase of weapons and equipment.
“Our publication coincides with the publication of the new US security strategy. There cannot be any comparison in neither the rank of the document, nor the goals set by the two states. However, many philosophical assumptions and the thinking about the national interest bear resemblance,” says Tomasz Wróblewski, President of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute.
The authors of the report propose basing the strategy on a few fundamental assumptions:
- Poland’s achievement of self-defence ability, which is indispensable despite allied guarantees under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. This will make Poland competent and capable to self-defend and resist a potential aggressor for several months without external assistance.
- Expansion of personnel reserves of the Polish Army and preparation of units of the Polish Army to accept them in terms of equipment, uniforms, and weapons so that the reserve could stand to fight as an equal part of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.
- An increase in defence spending to 3.5% GDP over the next five years.
- Introduction of a voluntary civic defence tax, which will supplement the budget of the Ministry of Defence.
- Inclusion of the entire society in the defence effort following the example of the Finnish “total defence”.
- Expansion of Territorial (General) Defence, as units of a citizens’ militia who train to fight and become independent of the regular armed forces, albeit in coordination with them.
- Introduction of the fundamental right of citizens to possess firearms, including long-barrelled guns, which must result from the constitution.
- Development of a rudimentary state strategy in the field of defense, which will be non-partisan and consistently implemented.
- Expansion of military cooperation to non-NATO countries, especially Sweden and Finland.
- Exclusion of defence issues from the current political struggle and building a cross-party consensus on the construction of defence potential, as well as on society’s defence preparation.
The “Poland’s Security Strategy” was prepared as part of the Polish Agenda, a project executed by the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers along with the Warsaw Enterprise Institute, whose aim is to develop a strategy for the development of Poland as well as systemic and legal solutions in the areas most important for Poland.
The full and unabridged report is available here for download (in Polish).