POLAND - NATO
Admission to NATO was one of the strategic priorities of Poland’s foreign and security policy in the 1990s. Our participation in “Partnership for Peace” program since 1994 was a significant element of preparations for membership. . Poland achieved its strategic goal on 12 March 1999. Accession to NATO made our engagement in its activity more dynamic and resulted in our deep integration with its structures.
Membership in NATO is still one of the main pillars of Poland’s security policy. According to Article 5 of Washington Treaty, the Alliance provides us with security guarantee. It proves to be of vital importance considering the current deterioration of security environment in Europe. NATO collectively as well as Allies on bilateral basis have provided Poland and other NATO-countries of our region with visible assurance by deploying, on permanent rotational basis, land, air and maritime forces. In Newport in 2014 the Alliance has also embarked upon a process of military and political adaptation. The NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016 will be an important milestone in this endeavour. One of the actions taken is the reform of NATO Response Forces (NRF) including the creation of Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). Poland takes an active part in the process, i.a. by contributing forces and hosting (in June 2015) the first ever VJTF deployable exercise Noble Jump 15.
Poland perceives the Alliance as a significant forum of dialogue and consultations in transatlantic relations and recognizes the need for narrowing the spending and capability gap between the US and European Allies.. This issue was emphasized during the Summit in Wales. Poland took concrete steps in this regard (an increase in the level of defence spending, ambitious modernization programmes).
Poland supports cooperation between NATO and partners. We are in favor of deepening the relations with Eastern non-NATO countries (Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) as well as with Sweden and Finland, with whom we share the strategic assessment of the current security environment. Poland also supports further NATO enlargement and closer cooperation between the Alliance and the European Union.
We perceive engagement in NATO operations as an expression of solidarity with other Allies. It also contributes to the interoperability of our armed forces with NATO forces.
Poland participates in: Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan KFOR in Kosovo as well as conducts rotations in the framework of Baltic Air Policing Mission. In the past we were also engaged in former operation in Afghanistan – ISAF, Iraq (NTM-I) and in the Mediterranean Sea (Active Endeavour).
Poland hosts several NATO-related institutions on its territory: Multinational Corps North-East in Szczecin, Joint Force Training Centre, 3rd NATO Signal Battalion, Military Police Centre of Excellence and NATO Force Integration Unit in Bydgoszcz, Multinational Military Police Battalion in Mińsk Mazowiecki.
POLAND - EUROPEAN UNION
Poland is a member of the European Union since 2004, the engagement in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is – apart from the membership in NATO and cooperation with key partners – one of the primary pillars of Poland's security.
Poland opts for increasing the global role of the EU and for strengthening CSDP. We perceive this policy as an indispensable addition to initiatives carried out within NATO and as a tool to enhance cooperation with the EU’s neighbors, including Eastern Partnership countries.
Thus, Poland gets actively involved in the CSDP military operations. We participate in projects dedicated to the development of defence capabilities, contribute forces to Battlegroups and the EU operations. We also take part in undertakings which aim at developing CSDP through the optimised use of instruments developed under the Treaty of Lisbon.
Under the Treaty of Lisbon CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy that has replaced the European Security and Defence Policy, ESDP) is an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union. It involves developing the civilian and military capabilities of the EU and its member states in order to enable effective and complex management of external crisises by the European Union.
DEVELOPMENT OF DEFENCE CAPABILITIES
From the outset of our membership in the EU we have been participating in activities aiming at development of the EU crisis response military capabilities. In July 2006, Poland joined the International Regime Stimulating the Competitiveness of the European Defence Market. We take part in works carried out by the European Defence Agency (EDA), also within the framework of the Pooling and Sharing initiative which aims at harmonising the capability development and improving the joint use of resources required to carry out operations. We pursue several research programmes which are coordinated by the EDA.
We are a part of key capability development projects that European Council has indicated in December 2013 and reaffirmed in June 2015: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, Air to Air Refueling and Transport capacity, Satellite Comunications and Cyberdefence.
Polands involvement in these projects is beneficial for the Polish Armed Forces. It allows the improvement of their interoperability through joint consultation as well as the shape of the operational requirements and needs., There is also a possibility to include Polish scientific and industrial entities in the project implementation phase. Moreover, our involvement in the development of standards and requirements allows implementing them in national projects.
ENGAGEMENT IN BATTLEGROUPS
Poland actively engages in the formation of Battlegroups – the rapid response forces which enable the EU to undertake immediate actions beyond its borders. In the first half of 2010, Poland acted as a framework nation for the Battlegroup created jointly with Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia and Latvia, and was responsible for organising the force command unit and the battle component of the group. Additionally, in the first half of 2013, the Weimar Battlegroup, formed by the forces of Poland, France and Germany, was on duty.. The next Battlegroup will be formed in 2016 with participation of Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine. Another Visegrád Battlegroup is planned in in 2019.
INVOLVEMENT IN THE CSDP OPERATIONS
The first involvement of Polish soldiers in the EU operation took place before Poland’s accession to the EU: in 2003 we were present in the EUFOR Concordia in Macedonia. Since 2004, Polish Armed forces have been present in EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina (which replaced the NATO led SFOR mission). Moreover, since October 2008, the Polish experts support the civilian monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia).
Our operational engagement is not limited only to the areas which are geographically close to Poland. In 2006 we participated in EUFOR RD Congo and in 2008 in EUFOR Tchad/RCA (in both missions the Polish contribution was one of the biggest). In 2013-14 the Polish military contingent participated in the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) and in 2014-15 in EUFOR RCA in Central African Republic. Since 2008 we have delegated officers to the command unit of EUNAVFOR Atalanta, a naval operation against piracy in the Horn of Africa. In 2015 we are also present in the EU training mission in Central African Republic (EUMAM RCA).