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Polish army. Błaszczak: “We have 172,500 soldiers under arms.” What is that number?

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Minister Mariusz Błaszczak boasted that the army was growing and the Polish Army already had 172,500 “soldiers under arms”. Internet users reacted with disbelief to this post, asking if there are actually so many soldiers in the units. NO. We explain how the minister counts.

On June 2, Minister of National Defense and Deputy Prime Minister Mariusz Błaszczak took part in the ceremonial oath of soldiers of voluntary compulsory military service in the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. There he encouraged people to join the ranks of the Polish army. He spoke about its numbers, comparing it with 2015, when Law and Justice took over. “Due to the threats that the free world must face, due to the Russian attack on Ukraine, we must strengthen the Polish Army. We have been doing it consistently since 2015,” said Błaszczak.

In 2015, the Polish Army had 95,000 soldiers – today it has 172,500 soldiers. This is proof that the Polish authorities treat everything related to the security of our Homeland seriously.

Minister he arguedthat “the Polish Army must be strong through the size of the Polish Army”, but also through the modern weapons that go to the equipment of the Polish army. On the same day on the PiS profile on Twitter the words of the minister were repeated: “In 2015, #WOJskoPolskie had over 95,000 soldiers, today it has 172.5 thousand soldiers. The Polish authorities take everything related to the security of our Homeland seriously.”

In his speech, the number of 172.5 thousand is noteworthy. soldiers, which he had previously posted on social media. Well, on May 26, he tweeted: “At the moment we have 172,500 soldiers under arms”, illustrating this with a graphic on which it was added that this is as of May 26, 2023. “We are consistently building the strongest land army in Europe!” – announced the minister.

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Many commenters on this post have asked what the term “soldiers at arms” means and which units are included in this group. Others asked how many professional soldiers there are in Poland. “Under arms? How many soldiers are there in line units? from the Territorial Defense?”; “Mr. Błaszczak, Lord, it’s not just the quantity that counts, but above all the quality”; “Who can define the term under arms?”; “These are professional or WOT and those after a week of training also make statistics?” – wrote Internet users.

We explain which groups Minister Błaszczak once again counted for the needs of government statistics and how many professional soldiers we have. Because 172,500 is not quite “the size of the Polish Army”.

Professional soldiers + students + WOT + candidates + volunteers

We have already written about how the Ministry of National Defense under the rule of PiS gives the size of the Polish army in Konkret24 in February 2023. At that time, Minister Błaszczak he gavethat in Poland there are 164,000 soldiers. Based on the budget documents of the Ministry of Defence, we explained that this number in 2022 consisted of: 115.5 thousand. professional soldiers, 35 thousand. soldiers of the Territorial Defense Forces, 8 thousand. candidates for professional soldiers; 3.6 thousand soldiers of the preparatory service (voluntary basic military service, DZSW) and 1 thousand. soldiers of the National Reserve Forces (the liquidated service, which is replaced by the DZSW).

The latest statistics from the minister are no different. In the number of 172.5 thousand. “soldiers under arms” includes not only professional soldiers, but also WOT soldiers, candidates for professional soldiers and volunteers for voluntary compulsory military service. WITH attachment until the budget decision of the Ministry of National Defense for 2023, we know that there are 125.7 thousand professional soldiers alone. (as of February 2023). The chart below shows how many of them were added in the following years.

Moreover, as can be seen from answers from the Ministry of National Defence sent to “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”, and what is important in the analysis of current statistics of the Ministry of National Defense – in October 2022, the ministry changed the way of counting professional soldiers: since then it also includes all students of military universities after completing their first year. The ministry explains that this is due to the regulations adopted in 2022 of the act about defending the homeland. Due to the change in methodology, the number of professional soldiers in 2015 (100,000) should not be compared with the current one (125,700).

In this year’s information on the budget, the Ministry of National Defense did not publish – as it did in previous years – the numbers of WOT soldiers, candidates for professional soldiers and volunteers from DZSW, who were included in the group of “soldiers under arms”. At the beginning of 2023, the Minister of Defense he gave only that WOT has 36 thousand. people, which together with professionals would give less than 162 thousand. soldiers. The remaining approx. 10,000 therefore, these are candidates for professional soldiers and volunteers from DZSW.

“Military strong by numbers”? Expert: “not numbers, but training”

Mariusz Błaszczak once again combined professional soldiers with WOT soldiers, students of military universities and volunteers from DZSW for the purposes of government statistics. What’s more, during his speech in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, he compared this total number (172.5 thousand) with the number of professional soldiers alone in 2015 (according to Błaszczak – 95 thousand, according to the documents of the Ministry of National Defense – 100 thousand) to boost his message about strengthening Polish army. However, such a comparison is manipulation.

This time the minister called this collective group “soldiers in arms”. Asked by Konkret24 about these words, an expert – military pilot, reserve major Michał Fiszer – emphasizes: it is not the number of military personnel that is most important, but their training. – It is known what the combat ability of students or volunteers is until the end of training. WOT is under arms only in the sense that these weapons lie in warehouses near the barracks, where they undergo training and during these trainings they can use them – says Major Fiszer. – As for the numbers, it is enough to see how large, but inadequately trained, forces Russia threw into the war and what they got out of it – he adds.

Main photo source: PAP

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