Work on new army command system well advanced

Piotr Polak

Poland's President Andrzej Duda said on Wednesday that a large part of the new Command and Control System for the Polish Army has been prepared, thanks to his work with the National Security Bureau (BBN) and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak.

The president made the announcement in Nowa Dęba (southeastern Poland), where he attended a joint exercise of the local Territorial Defence Force (WOT) and the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade.

He was accompanied by Błaszczak and emphasised that the defence minister has played an important role in designing the new command and control system.

"Minister Mariusz Błaszczak assumed an intensive role in these efforts immediately after taking office (in January 2018 - PAP)," the president said. "We have worked very closely together during that time and we have already managed to prepare a large part of this new Command and Control System."

"I am very happy, Mr Minister," he added, addressing Błaszczak, "that this cooperation is shaping up so well for us and through a shared effort for our armed forces and the Republic of Poland, we are succeeding in preparing this exceptionally important document."

Both he and the defence minister said the new system eliminates old weaknesses and is "clearer" in assigning powers to various institutions.

According to a draft version of the new arrangement, obtained by PAP, the changes are designed to introduce single-person responsibility for commanding the whole of the armed forces - this is the role of the defence minister. This official will exercise their power directly or through deputies and, notably, through the Chief of the General Staff, who will directly supervise all branches of the army.

In addition, the reform aims to prepare the military leaders for "taking action in the event of an external threat;" and adjust the Polish system to NATO requirements.

"Security is our priority - for the president, for the Law and Justice government," Błaszczak said, adding that this is also why the government has raised defence spending and signed an agreement to install the American anti-missile system, Patriot, in Poland.