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The current time is: 11/17/2017 5:50:48 PM
 (2000-Pres) Current Day Military talk (No Partisan Politics)    
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BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3438

Poland to increase size of active military by 50 %
Posted on: 10/29/2017 9:17:41 AM

Quote:


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signed a law Monday that will eventually increase the country’s spending on defense to at least 2.5 percent of GDP, well above the 2 percent required by membership in NATO.

It is part of an effort by Poland’s conservative government to improve the nation’s defenses in reaction to security concerns created by Russia’s intensified military activity in the region.

Poland is one of just five NATO members, an alliance of 28, that already spends 2 percent of GDP on defense. Under the new law it will raise spending to 2.1 percent in 2020 and to at least 2.5 percent in 2030.

“No one needs explaining that we want to have a strong, efficient armed forces,” Duda said in announcing his decision. “A force that will at a time of threat to Poland will be capable of defending Poland’s borders, of defending the security of its citizens.”

Duda noted that the bill was backed by both the ruling conservative party and the opposition, something rare in Poland’s divided political atmosphere.

The bill will also increase the number of troops serving in the military from the current 100,000 to 200,000. Some 50,000 of them will belong to new voluntary structure, the so-called Territorial Defense Force.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1383

Re: Poland to increase size of active military by 50 %
Posted on: 10/29/2017 8:47:56 PM
Bill, accept my apologies for being so ignorant of Polish issues. Can you sort me out on the following? Amongst other things, I seem to have heard that:
• President Duda is considered a strong nationalist leader, and would in US terms be considered to right of centre (or center ).
• There have been reported instances of suppression in the areas of civil, political and immigrants' rights in the recent past.
• President Duda recently acted out of character in protecting the independence of Poland's supreme court.

Given how wrong I may be, what different elements are foremost in President Duda's thinking as he makes this decision:
• Poland's perceived status within NATO and other alliances.
• domestic reading of Poland's sense of national security.
• Poland's desire to meet NATO requirements.

It's useless to try to compare national spending on military, IMHO, even amongst nations within an organization such as NATO. Just as an e.g., Canada and Poland have (very) roughly the same population, and roughly the same current military commitment in terms of members of the armed forces. But there are no other possible comparisons. Except, perhaps, % of GDP spend on military, and I don't have those figures. I would expect Canada to fall short in that department.

My question, of course, is whether the increase President Duda is announcing could indeed be effective in "defending Poland's borders, or defending the security of its citizens". It adds bodies, of course, and it appears to be designed to add/upgrade equipment. But if push came to shove, would this do much more than provide Poles a right to die to defend both their own soil or the soil of any other NATO member? Does the increase in manpower act as a realistic balance in what any future war might bring?

Cheers
Brian G


---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3438

Re: Poland to increase size of active military by 50 %
Posted on: 10/30/2017 3:04:46 AM
Brian,

 First thing one should do is give up on most Western media sources when it comes to reporting on Poland. The moment Poland made decisions that didn't sit well with the EU, it was labeled "authoritarian", a "police state", "a danger to democracy", etc. I can only state, from what I have seen, that the Western media is either remarkably ignorant or completely shameless. Poland's democracy is vibrant, and people are free to demonstrate, speak their mind publicly, etc. If Poland be a police state, it is news to me.

 Poland is a nation-state that is overwhelmingly ethnically Polish, Polish language-speakers, and Catholic. There are immigrants in Poland and no one is forcing Polonisation on them ... but the gritty reality is, in a country that is so thoroughly of one culture, one language, and one religion -- immigrants who want to find work and enjoy social success will have to adapt, most especially when it comes to learning the language. There are plenty of Ukrainian immigrants and they seem to do well enough ... realizing, of course, they hold two aces: their language and culture are similar to that of Poland.

 Duda strikes me as a traditional conservative of the sort that made up the U.S. Republican Party in the 1960s or thereabouts. I don't know why he took the approach he did on the high court issue.

 Poland has a deep distrust of Russia. This, probably more than anything else, is driving the intent to expand the armed forces. In terms of political geography, Poland borders Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Ukraine has potential to become unstable and Belarus is practically a satellite of Moscow. The real fear may be of a Russian attempt to seize Polish territory (area around Suwałki) and then engage in nuclear brinkmanship to defy NATO. The expansion of the territorial forces is very much about this concern -- the Poles want any Russian "green men" advance to meet immediate and bitter resistance so that any territory potentially lost in a war is kept as small as possible.

 Noteworthy about the decision is that is broadly supported in the parliament; this is not something that Duda or his party are unilaterally pushing.

 You mentioned a comparison with Canada. Here are the figures I find relevant. "Per Capita" is the sum of the active duty and reserves as a percentage of the number of males fit for military service. Source for figures was Wikipedia.



NATION Number of males fit for military service Active forces Reserve forces Per Capita

Poland 15.6 Million 105,000 75,000 1.2%

Canada 6.6 Million 68,250 32,000 1.5%



 Looked at this way, the Polish increases might bring their Per Capita commitment to the level of your thoroughly militarized Canada!

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1383

Re: Poland to increase size of active military by 50 %
Posted on: 10/30/2017 7:16:21 PM
Whoa! Interesting information. And interesting implications about foreign press/government response to being a nation responding to its own drummer. Thanks.

I had thought I understood the current tensions in the region. Just at a guess, I could see why Poland might have some doubts about Russia and Russian intentions. How about looking west? Don't they have a good reason to have doubts about German intentions? How much of pre-WW2 Germany remains in Polish hands? Or is that 'old news" after some 70+ years? That's not a snarky remark. It's an honest question about rage and revenge.

The Belarus "card" is, IIUC, huge, simply because geographically Belaus juts itself so dramatically against Poland, Ukraine, and even the Baltic states. As long as Belarus is undeclared (and from what I can pick up, it is still not declared) it poses a threat as a potential launch-pad for any number of aggressive moves. Let's face it: that could mean any Russian pressure agains a host of former SSR communities including Ukraine, but it could also mean any NATO expansion to the east, which Russia would hate vehemently.

Your data is interesting but confusing. I had assumed that our national populations were similar, knowing that Poland's was probably numerically superior. That seems correct: POL = 38+ M; CA = 37+M). So how can Poland have so many more eligible males? We're talking 15.6 M : 6.6 M, a more than 2:1 ratio. Out a population of 40M, Poland has 15.6M males eligible for military service?

That makes no sense! Do the numbers include recruiting practices (which might accept females into the system)? Age restrictions (which may make reserve/recruit levels alter dramatically)? Level of involvement (e.g., a reserve commitment of 20 hours/week)? Identifiable level of involvement? That 70:30 ratio bothers me a great deal.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3438

Re: Poland to increase size of active military by 50 %
Posted on: 10/31/2017 2:18:17 AM
Brian,

 Good catch on the stats! The figure for Poland was both genders and Canada's was for men only. So make the Polish figure 7.8 Million males, and give me a failing grade in analysis

 The part of Poland that belonged to Germany in 1945 is an issue for German nationalists. Germany, has, years ago, formally accepted the current German:Polish border . . . but if extreme factions in Germany somehow obtain enough power to be the government, it may become an issue again.

 Yes, Belarus is too strategically positioned. It would be great if it could be a big, swampy Switzerland in eastern Europe, but political geography indicates that won't happen.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

 (2000-Pres) Current Day Military talk (No Partisan Politics)    
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