Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced Monday that approximately 1,000 volunteers began their basic military training in Poland, saying there was a “large” interest in voluntary military service across the country.

 “A further 1,000 volunteers started training today for voluntary basic military service in 16 units in the whole country,” the defense minister said in a tweet.

 

“Interest in this type of service is large,” he added.

The minister also declared that the Polish government plans to train more troops this year, and many have already expressed their willingness to participate in the program.

“We plan to train 15,000 soldiers this year, and already at the start of the program we have 8,000 willing!” the tweet went on.

A homeland defense bill signed by Poland President Andrzej Duda went into effect in April. It brought a new type of military service, also known as the voluntary basic military service, to the Territorial Defense Force’s professional service.

The Homeland Defense Act, lengthy legislation over 450 pages, will supersede 14 previous laws and acts that defined how the army was constituted, how much money it received, and how the reserve system functioned. The eldest and most significant of the statutes being repealed, the Act on the Universal Duty to Defend the Republic of Poland, was enacted in 1967 and has had just a few minor revisions since then. As a result, some modified acts are now almost 50 years old.

A volunteer who enlists in this duty will serve one year in the military. After the basic training, which will last for 28 days, the program service also has an option of yearly specialized training and the chance of becoming a professional and trained military soldier for its trainees.

The Act restructures the reserves system, separating them into passive and active reserves. Soldiers in the active reserve maintain a higher level of combat preparedness than those in the passive reserve. At least once every three years for a single period of 14 days, the active reserve is called into service once every quarter for at least two days;

Distinguished Guest Ceremony to the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda
Distinguished Guest Ceremony to the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda (Source: Flickr.com)

Poland now has about 100,000 regular soldiers, but the new Defense Act is projected to expand that number to 250,000. The nation’s defense budget will also increase due to the president’s signature on the legislation.

According to the new legislation, defense spending cannot be less than 2.2 percent of GDP in 2022 and must be at least 3 percent in 2023. Furthermore, with the help of the Armed Forces Modernization Fund, the Ministry of National Defense’s budget will be further expanded, allowing for even quick, efficient, and more thorough equipment replacement and the purchase of new combat capabilities.

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The government is also required to present a comprehensive 15-year plan every four years for the advancement and modernization of the armed forces as per the new law, according to the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

On March 18, Michał Oleksiejuk said that the need to broaden and dissipate the Polish Air Force and enact modern air defense systems and mobile anti-tank launchers is already a prominently displayed insinuation in the current point of the conflict. However, it is still too early to be making any definitive statements about the military conflict in Ukraine.

The building of the Ministry of National Defense at al. Niepodległości 218 in Warsaw
The building of the Ministry of National Defense at al. Niepodległości 218 in Warsaw (Source: Wikimedia)

Oleksiejuk emphasized in his commentary that even with increased financing for the Ministry of National Defense, the financial requirements to operate such a workforce would result in limited options to procure appropriate machinery since most of the money would be allocated for human expenditures.

“The financial needs necessary to maintain such a manpower, even with an increased budget of the Ministry of National Defense, would mean limited possibilities of acquiring new equipment since most of the money would go towards personnel expenditures,” he said.

“Even a slight slowdown in the purchase of new equipment would then adversely affect the operational capabilities of the domestic armed forces, which during a potential conflict must be ready for clashes with slowly but systematically replaced and improved Russian armed military systems,” he added.

Duda pointed out that the “Homeland Defence Act” was initially put forth by the government in October of last year, when Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the chairman of the ruling party, presented it as a way to dismantle “Russia’s imperial ambitions.”

He also claimed that this law was created because “we foresaw that Russia might attack Ukraine…and that in the future we may be the next target for the attack of voracious imperial Russia.”