Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced the creation of a new division, although he has not yet finished forming the previous two. Retired generals say it’s propaganda. Also, recent purchases of equipment are supposed to be chaotic and not always well-thought-out, but very expensive and on credit.
Mariusz Błaszczak says goodbye to the Ministry of National Defense on a grand scale. In recent days, he has already received new helicopters, celebrated with soldiers, and now announced the creation of another new division of the Polish Army. – It will be a strong division. Four brigades of four battalions each. It’s about the truly powerful strength of this tactical union, because only in this way can we deter the aggressor – announces Błaszczak. In Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą, the head of the Ministry of National Defense talked about the government’s successes – the record number of people willing to serve in the Polish Army and attacked the opposition. – Those who say that 300,000 soldiers in the Polish Army are not possible do not realize that you have to work very hard to achieve this, and it is absolutely possible – Błaszczak points out.
This is another recent reference to the statement of former Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak, who stated on RMF FM that Poland does not have the “demographic potential for such a large army.” – There are record departures, there is a problem with the number of troops, and Minister Błaszczak simply cannot leave his position. Every few days he launches some absurd attacks either on me or the opposition. The case of someone who has not yet recovered from such stress after an electoral trauma – argues Tomasz Siemoniak, former head of the Ministry of National Defense in the PO-PSL government.
Voices of criticism
Minister Błaszczak’s actions – not only in recent weeks – have been criticized by opposition politicians and experts. – Błaszczak’s purchases could change a lot if they were implemented carefully. In fact, we have spent huge amounts of money, or in other words – we have announced the release of huge amounts of money, but so far we are only at the beginning. If we are already implementing some expensive modernization programs, let’s finish what we started, and let’s not do a lot of things at the same time, because we simply won’t finish these things – emphasizes Lt. Cmdr. Maksymilian Dura, an expert at defence24.pl.
The former commander of the Land Forces, General Waldemar Skrzypczak, also talks about this. He reminds that the Ministry of National Defense has not yet finished forming the two previous divisions, and has just started creating another one. – Rather, it only has a propaganda dimension. I don’t know where to get the professional staff of senior officers, junior officers, non-commissioned officers and privates in the numbers declared by Minister Błaszczak. Secondly, there is no equipment at the moment. In the next 2-3 years, there will not be enough of this equipment to meet the needs of 8 divisions, the general notes.
During the election campaign, Minister Błaszczak appeared with the army – or rather against its background – almost every day. He eagerly talked about security and defense. At the same time, the Polish army was constantly shaken by subsequent crises – a lost missile near Bydgoszcz, the disclosure of secret documents, and finally – just before the elections – the dismissal of the most important commanders, publicly criticized by the head of the Ministry of National Defense. – I regret two things. I regret that such experienced commanders left the service, and I regret that it happened in such a way – notes Maj. Jacek Siewiera, head of the National Security Bureau.
Jacek Siewiera admitted on TVN24 that Generals Piotrowski and Andrzejczak enjoyed the president’s respect and trust. – It was no secret that there was no such personal sympathy between the authorities of the Ministry of National Defense and the commanders of the armed forces – adds Siewiera. – There can be no trust in such a key place. Then, in May, I said “either Minister Błaszczak or the generals must leave,” Siemoniak argues. In the end – the generals have left, and now the minister is leaving.
Challenges of the new minister
The opposition assures that depoliticization and strengthening the army are among the priorities of the future government. – The Polish army received many promises, and, unfortunately, little reliable implementation of these promises. The most important task of the new Minister of National Defense will be to conduct a reliable audit, announces Andrzej Szejna, MP from the New Left.
Who in the Ministry of Defense will introduce new order? The most talked about name on the list lately is Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz. – I think he will be very good, calm, wise, balanced, just what is needed for this time. In addition, he will do one more important thing. It will restore respect for soldiers. He will be a minister who will not disguise himself as a soldier, (…) but will act as a civilian supervisor of the army, civilian control over the army, and will show respect for the uniform and soldiers – argues Szymon Hołownia. The Chairman of Poland 2050 also states that a decision on this matter has not been made yet.
Main photo source: Fakty po Południu TVN24