Anna Maria Dyner
For the member states of NATO and the European Union, the war in Ukraine became a starting point for a serious discussion about security in the Euro-Atlantic world. Russia started to be perceived not only as a challenge to both organisations but as a serious threat. Among the most visible results of this policy shift were the provisions of the NATO Summit at Newport, Wales, in 2014. In the context of the war in Ukraine, Poland together with Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Romania called for the significant strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence policy and for the permanent deployments of Allied troops in the region.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine prompted a strong reaction from Poland, which requested an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council that took place on 4 March 2014. Moreover, in response to Russia’s actions, which undermined the post-Cold War order in Europe, the NATO leaders in Newport decided to strengthen security on the Alliance’s Eastern Flank. Decisions were taken not only to reassure NATO members but also to discourage Russia from escalating tensions, and to demonstrate NATO support for Ukraine.
The second factor that significantly affected the security discussion in Poland was the government change in 2015. The new government, under the Law and Justice Party (PiS), made changes to the Polish armed forces and other uniformed services. In 2016, under the Act on the National Tax Administration, the Customs Service (SC) became a uniformed service. In 2017, the State Security Service (SOP) was created, a uniformed formation under the Ministry of Interior and Administration, which in February 2018 replaced the Governmental Protection Bureau (BOR). In September 2018, the Polish minister of National Defence decided to create a new mechanised division (Poland’s fourth), which will be based in Siedlce, eastern Poland. Moreover, in 2017, just before NATO Summit in Warsaw, the Polish Ministry of National Defence published The Defence Concept of the Republic of Poland, which was one of the results of the strategic defence review. It presented a new vision for the Polish armed forces and underlined that Russia is the biggest threat to Polish security. It also mentioned the need to modernise the military and the establishment of a new formation – the Territorial Defence Force (WOT). The document was also presented as a starting point for a bigger discussion about Polish security and a comprehensive review of Polish strategic documents.
Poland’s membership in NATO and the European Union reinforces its security. NATO is perceived as the most important political and military guarantor of Poland’s security, while the EU supports Poland’s socio-economic development and strengthens its position in the world. At the same time, the United States remains Poland’s most important non-European partner. Poland is engaged in five NATO missions and activities: in Afghanistan (330 troops), Iraq (60), Kosovo (250), Romania (Tailored Forward Presence, 220), and Latvia (Enhanced Forward Presence, 170).
Read the full report in the attached PDF file.