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Poland Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Polish Armed Forces (Polskie Siły Zbrojne): Land Forces (Wojska Ladowe), Navy (Marynarka Wojenna), Air Force (Sily Powietrzne), Special Forces (Wojska Specjalne), Territorial Defense Forces (Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej), Cyberspace Defense Forces (Wojska Obrony Cyberprzestrzeni)

Ministry of Interior and Administration: Polish National Police (Policja); Border Guard (Straż Graniczna or SG) (2024)

Military expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2024 est.)
3.9% of GDP (2023 est.)
2.2% of GDP (2022)
2.2% of GDP (2021)
2.2% of GDP (2020)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 120,000 active-duty personnel (65,000 Army; 7,000 Navy; 15,000 Air Force; 3,000 Special Forces; 30,000 joint service/other); approximately 40,000 Territorial Defense Forces (2023)

note: in June 2019, the Polish Government approved a plan to increase the size of the military over a period of 10 years to over 200,000 troops, including doubling the size of the Territorial Defense Forces; in 2021, it announced additional plans to increase the size of the military to over 300,000 personnel

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists of a mix of Soviet-era and more modern, NATO-compatible, weapons systems; in recent years, the leading suppliers of armaments have included several European countries, South Korea, and the US; Poland has a large domestic defense sector that produces or provides upgrades to a wide variety of weapons systems, particularly ground systems such as tanks and other armored vehicles; it also cooperates with the European and US defense sectors (2023)

note: in late 2018, Poland announced a 7-year (through 2026) approximately $50 billion defense modernization plan that would include such items as 5th generation combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, rocket artillery, helicopters, submarines, frigates, and improved cyber security; in 2022-2023, it signed large military weapons contracts with South Korea, the UK, and the US

Military service age and obligation

18-28 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription phased out in 2009-12; professional soldiers serve on a permanent basis (for an unspecified period of time) or on a contract basis (for a specified period of time); initial contract period is 24 months; women serve in the military on the same terms as men (2023)

note 1: as of 2019, women made up about 7% of the military's full-time personnel

note 2: in May 2022, Poland announced a new 12-month voluntary military service program with recruits going through a one-month basic training period with a military unit, followed by 11 months of specialized training; upon completion of service, the volunteers would be allowed to join the Territorial Defense Forces or the active reserve, and have priority to join the professional army and be given preference for employment in the public sector; the program is part of an effort to increase the size of the Polish military

Military deployments

250 Kosovo (NATO/KFOR); up to 180 Latvia (NATO); 200 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 230 Romania (NATO) (2023)

note 1: Poland has obligated about 2,500 troops to the Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine joint military brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG), which was established in 2014; the brigade is headquartered in Poland and is comprised of an international staff, three battalions, and specialized units; units affiliated with the multinational brigade remain within the structures of the armed forces of their respective countries until the brigade is activated for participation in an international operation

note 2: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including Poland, have committed additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in the Baltic States and eastern Europe

Military - note

Poland’s geographic location on NATO’s eastern flank and its history of foreign invasion underpin the Polish military’s heavy focus on territorial and border defense and supporting its NATO and EU security commitments; its chief concern is Russian aggression, particularly following Moscow’s seizure of Crimea in 2014 and full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine in 2022, which has led to increased defense spending and modernization efforts, as well as efforts to boost the NATO and US military presence in Poland; since 2014, Poland has been hosting several NATO military formations designed to enhance the defense of Poland and NATO’s eastern flank, including a US-led multinational NATO ground force battlegroup as part of the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence initiative, NATO fighter detachments at Malbork Air Base, a NATO-led divisional headquarters (Multinational Division Northeast), which coordinates training and preparation activities of its respective subordinate battlegroups in Poland and Lithuania, and a corps-level NATO field headquarters (Multinational Corps Northeast); since 2022, the US has established a permanent corps headquarters in Poland to command US rotational forces in Europe; Poland also participates in a variety of EU and NATO military deployments in Africa, the Baltic States, Southern Europe, and the Middle East; Poland provided considerable support to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, where more than 30,000 military personnel served over a 20-year period before the mission ended in 2021

the Polish military is organized into a General Staff, an Armed Forces General Command, an Armed Forces Operational Command, Territorial Defense Forces (established 2017), Military Police, and the Warsaw Garrison Command; the Army is comprised of several armored cavalry and mechanized infantry divisions, which are complemented by independent airborne, air mobile, and aviation brigades, as well as armored reconnaissance and artillery regiments ; the active forces are backed up by the Territorial Defense Forces, which have nearly 20 light infantry brigades manned by part-time reserve personnel; the Navy is a compact force for defending Poland's territorial waters, coastline, and its interests abroad, as well as providing support to NATO missions; its principal warships are two frigates, two corvettes, three attack submarines, and a few fast-attack craft; it also has a considerable force of mine warfare vessels, as well as a naval aviation brigade focused on anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrolling; the Air Force has a mix of about 80 Soviet-era and more modern US fighter aircraft; it has more advanced US (F-35s) and South Korean (FA-50s) on order to replace its Soviet-era inventory beginning in 2024; Poland also has a joint special forces command with air, ground, and maritime components (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Poland on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Poland 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Poland 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.