Poland's Defense Spending
In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland will increase defense spending to 3% of GDP and more than double the number of troops.
Poland’s President signed into law a bill that increases defense spending to 3% of GDP from 2023 on (already one of the highest levels in NATO) and more than double the number of troops serving in the Polish Armed Forces, up to 300,000, including 50,000 in territorial forces.
Poland is already spending 2.2% of GDP on defense and had been planning further increases. In May 2020, Poland’s national security strategy moved the goal of military expenditure reaching 2.5% of GDP forward to 2024 from 2030. This is largely on track with Poland’s 2022 budget, over USD14 billion, compared to USD10 billion in 2014.
The Polish government implemented this new law to facilitate the strengthening of Poland’s homeland defense. The “Homeland Defense Act” will establish a simplified recruitment process, more flexible promotion rules, and a system of incentives to encourage military service as well as restore the military reserve system and modernize its equipment. Voluntary basic military service, compromising one year’s training, will also be introduced.
Furthermore, in May 2022, the Minister of Defense signed an agreement with the President of Polish BGK Bank on operating the “Armed Forces Support Fund.” The Fund presents new solutions and regulations in the area of financing the Polish Armed Forces. The purpose of creating this new fund is to significantly increase the expenditure on modernizing the Armed Forces and is directly connected with the Act on the “Homeland Defense,” which regulates and defines general matters related to national defense.
In addition to NATO’s declaring Russia the “most significant and direct threat” to its members’ peace and security, last year’s Polish border crisis, in which tens of thousands of people, mostly from the Middle East, attempted to cross into Poland with the help of the Belarusian authorities, was also described by Polish officials as a form of “hybrid warfare” with Russian backing.
Russia’s military buildup around Ukraine and its subsequent invasion have prompted Poland’s NATO allies to enhance their presence in the country. The U.S. has stationed thousands of new troops in Poland, bringing its total forces in the country to around 10,000 along with deployment military equipment (Patriot missile batteries and a number of F-16 fighter jets). In June 2022, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will create a new permanent U.S. Army headquarters in Poland and deploy additional land, air, and sea forces across the length and breadth of Europe.
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