Defence Policy

MoD: Poland to Form Two New Divisions

Rak self-propelled mortar, as operated by the 12th Mechanized Brigade.
Photo. st. szer. Piotr Pytel/12 BZ

Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak announced that additional two Army divisions would be formed and stationed in central Poland.

Błaszczak announced a plan to create extra two divisions during a summary-coordinative briefing gathering the MoD’s and Armed Forces’ leadership. Currently, the Polish Armed Forces, Army specifically, include four divisions: 11th “Lubuska” Armoured Cavalry Division based in Żagań, 12th “Szczecinska” Mechanized Division based in Szczecin, 16th “Pomorska” Mechanized Division based in Olsztyn, and the newly formed 18th Mechanized Division, stationed in Siedlce.

In total then, the Polish Armed Forces are to have 6 tactical elements "with a proper support component". During the briefing, Błaszczak announced that "model 2035" is soon to be unveiled, outlining the development of the Polish Armed Forces, and probably covering further details. The decision to establish new divisions results on the grounds of the evolving security environment in the wake of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It would be based on the foundation provided by the Act on Homeland Security, and its provisions deciding on an increased level of defence expenditure, up to 3% of GDP (excluding the Armed Forces Support Fund).

The assumption is that after another two divisions are formed, the combat potential of the Army grows significantly. Division-level elements, depending on their structure, may involve even several thousand soldiers. Usually, a single division includes three armoured/mechanized brigades, as well as support units (artillery, reconnaissance, engineers, logistical elements, air defence units, and so on). This translates into, depending on the overall structure, more than 200 MBTs, 100-200 self-propelled howitzers, and multiple rocket launch systems, along with several hundred APCs and IFVs, and several support assets.

Establishing two divisions would be a major organizational, logistical, HR, and financial challenge for the Polish Armed Forces. It is not easy to clearly define the path towards those changes.

According to the head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, extra staff would be recruited through the system of the voluntary general military service and increased recruitment quotas at the military academic institutions. Here, it is worth recalling, that cost involved in the establishment of one, strong, reinforced division, with an expansive artillery component and air component of its own (with the existing structures being partially utilized, but before a decision was made to form the 18th Mechanized Division), was estimated by us at a level of PLN 50 bn.