Challenges for Forces Development at the Beginning of the 21st Century

General considerations and consequences for the Polish Armed Force

Stanisław Zajas


The transition period from the 20th to the 21st century was marked by important and decisive changes in international politics, particularly in the field of security, globally as well as in individual states and societies. Among other things, this dynamic process of change is connected with the end of the Warsaw Pact and the prospect of security and economic development, particularly inEurope. Based on democratic principles in many states, which led to NATO and EU enlargement, a feeling of security and integration set in. The division of the world into two opposing camps disappeared and the term “Cold War” only continues to live on in history books.

This does, however, not mean that we are living in a world without threats. Although a global armed conflict does not seem very likely, new security threats have emerged. These threats are asymmetric in nature, which means that in many cases it is very difficult to identify a concrete enemy and to take respective counter-measures, since nobody knows for sure where and when he might hit. It is important to emphasize that, although conflicts emerge in distant regions in this globalized world, they could also appear locally, due to global networks. It is therefore indispensable for national as well as international peace to take the influence of local threats into account and take respective measures against them. This situation made and still makes it necessary to reassess the courses of action, in the event security problems arise, globally as well as nationally.Polandis a member of NATO and the EU and, due to these memberships our level of security has increased. This is also a result of theAlliance’s principles (Art. V of the Washington Treaty) and of our membership in the European Union. That means that in the political-military field NATO and the EU will have to adapt to current and future challenges. Despite the perception of increasing security, particularly in the Euro-Atlantic area, it is absolutely necessary to have armed forces which can be used as an important tool in implementing policies. In the event of an attack against a NATO member the allies have to provide support within the framework of collective defense. In addition, they should also participate within the broad spectrum of crisis intervention beyond the borders of theAllianceorEurope.

Among other things that calls for well trained and well equipped forces. The present contribution will answer the basic questions of what forces should look like in the first decades of the 21st century, what threats they should be prepared for and what demands they should meet. These considerations are of general nature and will mainly focus on the forces development of the North-Atlantic Alliance, taking European interests into account. Furthermore, it shall demonstrate the Polish view regarding the requirements and the development of the armed forces of the Republic of Poland, at the beginning of the 21st century.

Current and Future Threats with Regard to Global Changes in the Field of Security

After 1990 the global political-military situation has drastically changed. In 1999, Hungary, the CzechRepublic, and Polandbecame NATO members and in 2004 seven more countries were accepted into the Allianceas full members, which substantially increased the level of security for these European countries. The likelihood of a far-reaching armed conflict is considered to be small. But new global threats have emerged, far away from our borders, such as international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and bloody conflicts caused by religious and economic tensions. It has to be emphasized that the attacks of 9-11 in the USA, in March 2004 in Spain, in July 2005 in London, and in November 2008 in Mumbai as well as the stabilization operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had a great impact on how the security situation developed at the beginning of the 21st century and this development will also continue in the future. Aside from the aforementioned factors, security experts also consider the following factors to have an influence on the political-military development:[1]

-          the transformation of NATO into an alliance with increasing political influence,

-          the enlargement of the European Union and its military development, in order to secure peace,

-          the increasing importance of the USA as a military power, globally as well as inEuropeand the EU,

-          the growth ofChinaandIndiawho became economic and military powers and their influence on the global economy and the global financial market.

Analyses of the global restructuring after the end of the Cold War show that not only state borders have opened but also international trade has gained in importance and that there has been a shift of investments into regions that promised best profits, best conditions, and lowest production costs. But globalization also produces discontent and frustration, so that there are always focal points, armed conflicts, and civil wars. The global energy reserves are a source of special concern and exertion. Europeis the largest importer of crude oil and natural gas – currently making up for 50% of the consumption worldwide. In the future the demand of these resources can still rise, since some European countries are seeing a dynamic economic upswing. Currently, we can see from the rising prices that Chinais a growing consumer of global gas and oil reserves as well as of other natural resources. Of special importance for the energy supply are the Middle East (countries around the Persian Gulf), Russia, and northern Africa. These regions are and will continue to be of specific political, military, and economic relevance[2], since discontent can easily lead to unrest there. The struggle over natural resources will most likely cause migrations in the future, which can, in turn, cause social tensions and lead to armed conflicts.[3] What are the future threats that will have a substantial impact on the use of armed forces? And what will these threats look like? Currently terrorism is the most unpredictable threat to the lives of people in various regions of the world. It has a direct and negative influence on a society’s openness and tolerance.[4] At the moment it is an increasing strategic threat for Europe, because of the global war on terror and particularly because of the stabilization operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. One can predict that, despite all anti-terror measures, this threat will not decrease, as the terrorists possess ample means, establish international networks via the internet and are prepared to use any kind of force in order to cause highest possible losses and permanent fear among the population. The most widely spread global terrorism is closely linked to religious extremism. Europe is both target and harbor for terrorists and logistic bases of al-Qaeda were found in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Belgium. However, it has to be pointed out that the terrorist threat comprises the entire world which is also referred to as “global village”, so that attacks might occur anytime and any place. The means used to carry out terrorist attacks vary. Considering the fact that terrorists have more and more opportunities to get hold of weapons of mass destruction and advanced computer technologies the consequences of such attacks would be felt worldwide. There could, for instance, be an attack against the steering systems of the energy supply or against systems of the financial administration which might even trigger an economic crisis of global dimension. Currently it can be assumed that the development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitutes a threat for individual states, whole regions and – under certain circumstances – for the entire world order. Advanced research of individual states on biological weapons and their production as well as the possibility to buy chemical weapons or radioactive material or even nuclear weapons (e.g. back pack nukes) in some regions could be an easy opportunity for terrorists to cause greatest possible damage.[5] In addition, some non-democratic states run programs on the production and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To possess them makes it possible for authoritarian regimes to put pressure on others, which could also be a threat for far-away regions.North Korea,Iran, and evenPakistan are currently working on such programs and therefore constitute a threat for Europe and the most developed countries in Asia and theAmericas. This situation will not only require political action but, among other things, also the use of deterrents and military pressure. Regional conflicts, even if they are far away from our home countries, can have a global impact. Such regional conflicts, as for instance inKashmir or on the Korean peninsula or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can emerge on the basis of extremism, terrorism or failing states. The breeding ground for such conflicts can be religious tensions, power struggle, or continued hostility. To prevent such conflicts merely with political means would be very difficult and therefore often requires the use of military forces in order to enforce resolutions of the international community. Another threat which occurs now and will also occur in the future has its origin in states that are falling apart, due to corruption, weak governmental institutions, and the loss of power of the respective governments.Somalia,Liberia, andAfghanistan are examples of that.Europe is a direct target of organized crime and will probably also be one in the future. But this threat will affect more or less all continents. In essence, it is a matter of drug and human trafficking, prostitution as well as of smuggling weapons. Since such activities are always connected with law violations, fighting them takes all governmental security organizations. The aforementioned analyses show that we are now living in a world which offers positive perspectives but in which also new threats are emerging and this will also continue to be the case in the future.

Until the end of the Cold War our self-defense concept was based on the principle of invasion. But the new threats will often cause the front line to be somewhere abroad. As opposed to the Cold War threats, none of the new threat scenarios is of military relevance. However, to counter each one of them, it takes various means and among others also military means. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction can be reduced by means of exercising political and economic power as well as by strict control of such export goods. The war against terrorism requires the combined efforts of the security and intelligence services, the police, the judicial system, the armed forces as well as other means. Regional conflicts show that political solutions and economic pressure are indispensible. The use of military and police forces should, however, always be the last resort. International forces can help failed states by reestablishing order and providing humanitarian assistance. As the European security strategy “A Secure Europe in a Better World, European Security Strategy”[6] emphasizes, democratic states should get more actively involved in counteracting such threats. Stronger commitment means that the states (of the Alliance) need a whole range of instruments for crisis management. From the Polish perspective this implies to actively participate within the international community, with the aim of counteracting aforementioned threats timely, i.e. when they occur. As is pointed out in the “Vision of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland – 2030”[7] factors like the political-military integration into NATO and the political-economic integration into the European Union have reduced the risk of destabilization in our immediate environment. Since it is impossible to predict future tendencies in the development of global security the emergence of new threats in our near-abroad cannot be ruled out for the next 20 to 25 years. Nevertheless, the probability of a traditional invasion of armed forces connected with conquering territory is very low. With regard to Polish participation in stabilization and peace operations, Poland could be a possible target of terrorist attacks. In addition, famines as well as economic and ecological catastrophes could constitute a threat for Poland and its environment. Therefore a substantial part of Poland’s commitment in the field of international and European security policy will focus on NATO and the EU in order to strengthen the common capabilities within the defense frame.[8]

Transformation of the Armed Forces with Regard to Future Military Operations

In order to be able to adequately respond to possible threat scenarios the armed forces need to be transformed into more flexible and mobile units.[9] Through cooperation among the states double use of same forces can be avoided and simultaneously the capacities and capabilities in the respective military areas can be improved. This makes it possible to cover a broad military spectrum. And we will get stronger still if we continue to work together on a common Alliance policy as well as on a European foreign, security, and defense policy. Cooperation with partners is necessary and only common actions against threats improve the capabilities and strengthen mutual trust. New military and civilization-related threats caused NATO to adapt its political-military principles to the new challenges. After the attacks of 11 September 2001 a concept for reorientation of the Alliance was elaborated. The new strategic security concept of NATO clearly states that despite the end of the Cold War new threats to peace and stability have emerged over the last decade. They are connected with ethnic conflicts, economic disparity, the breakdown of the political order as we have known it as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In this situation NATO should assume the role of providing advice and assistance in order to support the positive changes of the last ten years.[10] NATO’s main task is to ensure freedom and security for all its members through political and military interventions. Building on democratic and human rights principles the Alliance will continue to be a guarantor for peace and stability in Europe for the next decades. Yet, in the future NATO will also be prepared to contribute to international peace beyond the borders of Europe. NATO is also ready to secure peace in other countries, according to respective UN resolutions. In order to reach that goal it is necessary to have adequate military structures in the field of common defense and common operations. NATO’s relevance as the only political-military organization with rapid reaction capabilities continues to increase. The fact that there was no common point of view with regard to the war in Iraq in 2003 did not change the principles of the Alliance. The principles concerning collective security are unequivocal – an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all members. According to Art. V of the Washington Treaty NATO’s international forces have to be ready to carry out deterrence and defense measures on Alliance territory. In addition, NATO forces have to be prepared to prevent conflicts and intervene (in cases not included in Art. V), also out of NATO area. Interventions outside Art. V and out of NATO area are estimated to be the most likely in the future. In the near future there will be an increased demand for respective interventions to resolve crises. In addition it will be necessary to use diplomacy, political pressure, and also military means. The spectrum of crisis interventions (outside Art. V) can comprise following operations:[11]

Peace support operations:

-          conflict prevention

-          peacemaking

-          peacekeeping

-          peace enforcement

-          peace-building

-          humanitarian assistance

Other crisis response operations:

-          stabilization operations

-          disaster relief and humanitarian aid after famines and catastrophes

-          evacuation of own citizens

-          search and rescue operations

-          observer missions to ensure that sanctions and embargos are complied with.

Analyses have shown that, in the future, the use of armed forces will mainly concern those peace operations set forth in the NATO doctrine.[12] It can be expected that in all likelihood peace operations will be considered assistance operations for UN and OSCE actions and can serve the purpose of preventing conflicts and creating a stable international situation. During the next 20 years the characteristics of peace operations will depend on what steps the international community takes to preempt or prevent possible crises. Such efforts could include conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace enforcement as well as humanitarian assistance operations, which constitute a substantial part of the peace operations. Conflict prevention will depend on political, diplomatic as well as economic efforts aimed at solving conflict situations. Such actions can also include the use of selected force components. This creates the possibility of threatening or respectively showing determination to use the available military potential if need be. A study of the relevant literature reveals that the use of armed forces in crisis management is closely linked to diplomatic efforts and peace talks between the conflict parties. It is assumed that the military will support the actions mentioned above by providing military personnel to plan the resolution of conflicts and assist with peace talks. The force concentration can also be used to isolate the respective conflict region, to enforce sanctions as a coercive means to stop conflicts.[13] Peacekeeping operations require some kind of prior agreement between the conflict parties, so that the use of peacekeeping troops is only possible after a ceasefire. The use of force against the conflict parties will be limited exclusively to self-defense, while the termination of a peace agreement by the conflict parties will terminate the mission. The disadvantage of such actions is that military forces can only be used after an agreement between the conflict parties, i.e. during a cool-down phase of the conflict. Aforementioned restrictions show that in the next 20 years armed forces will be used less for peace-support operations, since they are not efficient solution for conflict situations. Military forces can also be used for prevention or intervention operations in order to enforce peace, as military action during a peace-enforcement mission aims at restoring peace or keeping peace respectively and force the conflict parties to accept the conditions adopted by the international community. In this context the use of force can be seen as a means to achieve aforementioned goals. NATO’s current assumptions concerning crisis response show that selected military units have to carry out a great number of complex tasks during peace-building. They would include the creation of stable political systems and adequate economic and social framework conditions after the conflict has come to an end. According to numerous expert papers concerning the use of soldiers one will have to work on the premise of preventive troop deployment to the crisis area in order to have the possibility to create military deterrence. An additional effect would be to strengthen the diplomatic efforts aiming at preventing conflicts. Crisis situations which constitute a threat to international peace and security and require the use of armed forces within the framework of peace operations will, also in the future, be tied to providing humanitarian assistance. Military research results suggest that due to the military threats only selected units, including air force units, will be in the position to provide humanitarian assistance during peace operations. During the next two decades peace operations will continue to constitute the basis for ending crises that threaten international peace and security. It can be assumed that the military will change in form, size, and employment of forces during peace operations. Based on the experience of the UN, NATO and the EU one can notice a gradual shift in the operating procedures of peace contingents in a mission, who have a mandate to keep or make peace respectively. International politics as well as various doctrines suggest that the concept of humanitarian assistance is gaining more and more ground. It can be implemented in the sense of the UN but it does not take lengthy diplomatic efforts to get a resolution of the UN Security Council and a following mandate. The use of forces in crisis management not only applies to peace missions but also comprises humanitarian assistance, support of victims after famines, and the provision of search and rescue systems. Individual force contingents can also be used for evacuating civilians, own citizens, among others. NATO’s growing commitment in the field of peace operations and providing support during rebuilding after the end of armed conflicts also requires military assistance for civil politicians if they are unable to execute their most basic functions. The selected military units will also contribute to humanitarian assistance operations aimed at fighting greater famines. Such actions can include a broad spectrum of tasks which are either carried out alone or in cooperation with other aid organizations. In the future, military forces will also be used for providing help to refugees and replaced persons as well as for the organization and preparation of humanitarian assistance.[14] Supporting refugees and displaced persons can be a matter of securing transports, providing medical and food supplies and establishing security with military means in the respective areas.

As analyses of various prospects of the Allianceshow, future responses to crises can be as difficult and complex as defense measures. Therefore well trained and well equipped forces with a respective status of readiness and of adequate strength are indispensible for an appropriate response in any situation. Also the command structures used are of importance for effective military engagement. As a result NATO members should further develop their capabilities, within the framework of their force transformation, by preparing respective components of land, air, special, and naval forces that have the necessary combat power to respond adequately to attacks against a member of the Alliance. To have credible capabilities to cover the entire task spectrum is and will continue to be of importance for the Alliance’s forces. These requirements are reflected in the force structure, its strength, equipment, operational readiness, and the capability of sustained actions as well as in training and exercises regarding the various operational scenarios. The Allianceaims at the best possible balance between high readiness and low readiness troops. It also differentiates between forces with great transport capacities and those which are employed locally for the purpose of collective self-defense in the event of an attack. To have units of varying operational readiness facilitates flexible reactions to growing dangers in crisis situations and an adequate response in the event of an attack. Thanks to this insight continuity of action and reinforcement in specifically vulnerable areas can be ensured. The Alliance’s forces should be organized in a manner that reflects its international character and its readiness to act collectively. The NATO Response Force plays an important role. It is characterized by quickly reaching operational readiness and a high degree of mobility, which facilitates rapid deployment to areas of operation. In crisis situations the time factor is of great importance. Also the EU has made efforts to respond adequately to crises, among other things, by establishing effective, credible common troops with a high status of readiness, which were set up on the basis of the Battle Group Concept. To create such rapid response units is currently one of the primary goals of the European security and defense policy.[15] To obtain flexible reaction capabilities in all situations requires respective logistic possibilities, such as transport capabilities and medical support, which makes possible the formation and continuity of action of all military units. Standardization has led to possibilities of cooperation and expenditure reduction in the field of logistic support and has provided for further actions outside theAlliance’s territory. In particular, the latter is used for crisis intervention operations without or with limited support of the country in which the operation takes place.

The decisions mentioned above have direct implications for the armed forces of the Republicof Polandand their transformation. According to the regulations of the national security strategy of the Republicof Poland[16] the main task of the armed forces in the area of military security is to defend the territory and sovereignty ofPoland and its allies. Additional tasks are to remove armed threats and to create a military balance in the region.Poland is building its defense policy on solidarity and loyalty to theAlliance. The readiness to provide support to every NATO member strengthens the effect of deterrence while at the same time helping to ensure security for NATO members, and NATO as a whole. According to the current estimate of the situation the risk of a larger armed conflict is rated as very low. More likely are regional and local conflicts in whichPoland will not be directly involved. Yet, their development and consequences can create a crisis situation which might have the potential to change into a war.Poland must be ready to react to crises which might cause a conflict necessitating an intervention according to Art V of the Washington Treaty.

Poland’s participation in common defense and its support of UN, NATO, and EU policies, within the framework of crisis management and stabilization operations will also require extended strategic planning in the area of new technologies. The conditions that military successes are tied to are, among other things, superiority in information gathering, the use of military structures fitted with the most advanced technological equipment that is superior to that of the adversary, the use of advanced technologies in the chain of command, having respective combat power, mobility, and protection against enemy attacks, the skillful application of a symmetric strategy against the enemy, exploitation of the logistic resources of the state, and civil-military cooperation. The military strategy of the Republicof Polandshows that one of the priorities is in the area of transformation and development of the armed forces which allows for carrying out effective international actions with respective task sharing. This idea is supported by the creation of high-readiness units, as for instance the NATO Response Force or the European Union Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF). Polanddoes not only want to be the beneficiary of its membership in the Allianceand the EU. As medium-size European state with corresponding potential we affirm our responsibility and solidarity with the international community by actively participating in peace and stabilization operations, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chad, and on the Golan Heights. During the last five years we have fulfilled our obligations toward our allies by having become one of the most stable countries that has made a measurable contribution to peace and reconstruction in the areas mentioned above.[17] Poland will continue to actively participate in maintaining regional and global peace and security. Modern armed forces set up according to their technological and financial possibilities will continue to be the scale against which the role and position of our country will be measured in the international arena. Having well trained forces is a triumph for every state and makes it possible to defend interests at the same time that go beyond security as well as to make new friends and allies.[18]

The Vision of the Armed Forces of the Republicof Poland[19] is based on the assumption that future military operations will mainly take place in an international environment. Therefore their planning and realization will be done by international commands and staffs. By contrast, national operations for crisis interventions will only be realized within the national territory. They will be limited in time and space and the tasks will mainly be to minimize the consequences of the emerged threats. Situations that require operations of international troops would be: famines, economic crises, environmental catastrophes, the emergence or the escalation of a military threat from within. Within the next 20 years the basis for using Polish Armed Forces will be focused on the participation in military operations abroad and within the framework of crisis response operations of the EU, NATO or an alliance of states. They will support diplomatic and economic efforts and pursue the aim to prevent crises, conflicts, and their escalations.

This document suggests that selected contingents of the Polish Armed Forces will be integrated into an international unit consisting of land, air, naval, and special units and participate together with them in operations. The intervention forces have no strict organization structure, as it has to be adjusted to the individual tasks. Size, structure, equipment, and armament of these troops will depend on the mission objective and the extent of the operation.[20] With regard to the armed forces of the Republic of Poland one of the most important requirements will be to gain the capability of carrying out expeditionary tasks. Therefore part of the forces will consist of light units that can deploy over long distances. They will be militarily and logistically secured on all sides and will be able to carry out sustained actions.[21] The Vision of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland also presents the future framework conditions for the military, in particular the criteria for what capabilities the forces should have in order to be able to cover a broad spectrum of operations over a sustained period of time.[22] It is assumed that these will not be developed on the national level alone but in international cooperation. The most important capability of the forces will be to act jointly with NATO and EU as well as other non-military security organizations. This can be reached through excellent language training of military personnel, uniform doctrine, training regulations, and standardized staff and operation procedures. In addition the armed forces of theRepublic ofPoland should have the following capabilities within the next 20 years:

-          to gain, collect, and evaluate information about the adversary in a broad electromagnetic spectrum and transform them into a coherent picture;

-          to command and control in real time on all command echelons;

-          to reach high action effectiveness through a broad spectrum of ordnance of land, air, and naval forces as well as various guided weapon systems;

-          to respond fast to threats, even if they are thousands of kilometers away with transport means of strategic range;

-          to find and identify weapons of mass destruction and prevent their use;

-          to carry out information operations;

-          to sustain operations over a given period of time.


In connection with these needs it is assumed that the armed forces of theRepublicofPolandwill be composed of a functional combination of units comprising the following forces:

-          well trained and well equipped reaction forces that are able to carry out operations within the framework of international forces, and to form the core of these, as well as be able to carry out operations at home, the Euro-Atlantic area or outside this area;

-          stabilization forces earmarked for a broad task spectrum, among other things for stabilization operations of low to medium intensity against scattered armed units as well as other threats that are asymmetric in character;

-          security forces with the task of guarding persons, equipment, logistic and medical material and that are also able to defend themselves against attacks with weapons of mass destruction as well as carry out general guard operations according to need.

It has to be emphasized that the quality of the Polish Armed Forces does not only depend on the respective equipment and armaments but also on professionally and extensively trained soldiers. The decision of the Polish government in August 2008 concerning the introduction of all-volunteer forces is a step in the right direction in order to meet the demands mentioned above.

The Concept of Network Centric Warfare and Force Development

New concepts have a direct impact on the direction of the force development. In the 1990s, theUSAstarted to work on such new concepts, known as “Network Centric Warfare”. It was first defined by J. Garstki, D. Albertsa and F. Stein:

“(…) Network Centric Warfare is human and organizational behavior. It is based on a new way of thinking – network centric thinking – and adapt it in military operations. It concentrates on the power which is generated from an effective network of combat elements. One characteristic is the ability to bundle geographically scattered forces (formation elements), generate a tactical procedure and identify what strategy is to be applied through self-synchronization and other network centric actions in order to be able to carry out the commander’s intent. Network centric warfare leads to accelerated command speed and the transformation of information superiority in order to gain advantage in combat action. Network centric warfare does not depend on the type of mission, the force size, and the geographical conditions. In addition network centric warfare combines the tactical, operational and strategic level of combat actions. In short, network centric warfare is not only a technology but to a large extent the answer of armed forces to the challenges of the computer era”.[23]

In their concept the team Albert, Garstek and Stein point out the challenges the new situation poses with regard to an environment in which battles are fought in the computer era. According to the authors’ concept, the growing importance of crisis intervention and the progress connected with the introduction of new technologies as well as the asymmetry of military actions have made it necessary to re-define the term “battlefield”, namely as “area of task realization”. It will be an area without clear borderlines between fighting soldiers and civilians. According to the expectation of U.S.experts, network centric warfare provides a possibility to act within a framework in which forces are networked. They take advantage of their information superiority and thereby gain complete oversight over the situation (on strategic and operational level) which enables them to carry out rapid and efficient operations. This makes it possible to fight the enemy with only few own casualties and economical use of own forces. Network centric warfare is increasingly gaining in importance in NATO’s doctrine. Therefore it is assumed that one of the most important goals of the transformation of the Allianceshould be to ensure information superiority of the forces in order to facilitate superiority in decision making. Moreover, the doctrine of the Alliancerefers to the superiority in decision making as condition in which the commanders on various echelons[24]:

-          gain oversight over the situation

-          can estimate the enemy’s actions

-          make optimal decisions and start to realize them faster and more efficiently than the enemy.

Within the Alliancethe principles of network centric warfare are elaborated together for various areas, such as: doctrine principles, force organization, military training, ordnance and combat support actions, command and control, personnel administration, infrastructure, and gaining the capability of different units carrying out joint actions in network centric battles. The main objective of implementing network centric warfare will be to create an environment in which information gathering and decision makers are integrated into a “super” net which makes it possible to find and get information from any source and according to the needs of the recipient. For the armed forces of the Republicof Polandthe requirements regarding network centric warfare are specified in the “Vision of the Armed Forces of the Republicof Poland– 2030”. According to this document, future operations will rely on the expectations of network centric warfare. The core of these considerations is to create one single integrated net which forwards information to decision makers and combat units. The result will be a substantial increase in combat power, command of the units, and effectiveness of armaments as well as an increased resistance capability against enemy attacks and information superiority.[25] The principle characteristics of combat systems and combat equipment will be that they can be used within a network. The basis will be a modern information exchange platform with a multi-layered security system. The net will comprise complex reconnaissance elements, decision making, ordnance, and equipment of all other parts of the forces. The detection systems will be based on a broad spectrum of active and passive detection sensors that can gather information about the enemy in the air, on land, and at sea, day and night, regardless of the atmospheric conditions. The information gained is continuously transmitted to the information net. The combat system will be based on network centric actions on manned and unmanned air platforms on water as well as on land. These will be equipped with modern navigation and target systems as well as with high-precision weapons. Due to the networking, the individual elements get precise information about targets which enables the effective use of weapons. The command system will be based on advanced computer and telecommunication technologies that can process and transmit large amounts of data. These elements are integrated into each other and form the technological basis of a common information environment which comprises all forces headquarters on strategic, operational, and tactical level.[26] The ability to carry out network centric actions adequately requires the gradual introduction of new technologies in the areas of equipment and armaments on the one hand and the establishment of all-volunteer forces on the other. Taking the current economic situation into account, one has to work on the premise that inPoland the transition to network centric warfare will take at least 20 years.


Analyses show that within the next 20 years the threat scenarios will continuously change. The probability of a global armed conflict continues to be rated as very low. The main threats, however, are the following: international terrorism, uncontrolled proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the outbreak of local conflicts that are based on religious, ethnic, economic or social tensions, failed states, and international crime. The mentioned threats will mainly emerge in distant parts of the world, outsidePolandand the North-Atlantic Alliance and European Union area. In order to prevent threats from these crisis areas it will take stronger commitment on part of NATO, the OSCE and the EU. The forces used, in accordance with resolutions, will be international in character and will also be used to adequately respond to crises. In order to be able to participate in such operations the forces of theAlliancehave to possess prepared components marked by high mobility and short preparation time for sustained military operations in distant areas. New threats to security and stability necessitate new concepts for the development, use, equipment, and training of the forces. There is a shift from the classical military use of forces reaching up to combating threats. These are usually hard to identify, emerge suddenly, and are a global danger to politics, society, the economy, and the military. Adequately trained and equipped units can counteract these dangers today as well as in the future. Analyses show that in the future the importance of network centric warfare will continuously increase. Its basic concept is to ensure information superiority by establishing a common information network. This enables the transmission of current and indispensible information across the entire area of operation to all participants. In addition, it makes it possible to use the forces effectively and with low losses of own forces at the right time and in the right place. The armed forces of theRepublicofPolandwill have to change their procedures to make an effective defense possible and to participate in international operations abroad. To reach the goals mentioned above will not only depend on our national ambitions but also on the financial means of our state.Polandwill continue to actively contribute to the international community and thereby remain a reliable partner and ally with strong commitments to maintain regional and international peace.



[1] A SecureEurope In a Better World. European Security Strategy, Brussels 2003.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Such assessments were repeatedly made by the participants at the international conference on “Current and Future Threats and Force Development”, held at the Polish Defense Academy, 10-11 April 2008. Conference material, Zeszyty Naukowe Akademii Obrony Narodowej, Numer specjalny 1 (70)A, Warsaw 2008.

[4] Strategia bezpieczeństwa narodowego RP, Warschau 2003, p.2; Strategia bezpieczeństwa narodowego RP, Warschau 2007, p.6-10, 14-15, W. Czarnecki, S. Chmur: Przyszłość sił zbrojnych RP – miejsce Polski w Euroatlantyckich strukturach bezpieczeństwa. Material of the Prague Summit Declaration, accessible through:

[5] Wizja Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczpospolitsj Polskiej - 2030, Ministry of Defense, Warsaw 2008, p.6.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Edited by the Ministry of Defense, Warsaw 2008, p.7.

[8] Ibid., p.8.

[9] Force transformation is an on-going process in order to adapt to changed threats. The nature of this process is permanent research and the introduction of changes in all areas of the armed forces. It not only concerns the organization and the functioning of the armed forces but also areas such as technological modernization, training, financing as well as the relations with the civil level of the state. M. Ojrzanowski, Kierunki

rozwoju sił zbrojnych - podejście polskie, [w:] Profesjonalizacja Sił Zbrojnych Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej, Materials are taken from the Science Conference, Zeszyty Naukowe, Special Edition 2(71)A, National Defense Academy, Warsaw 2008, S.41-42.

[10] TheAlliance’s Strategic Concept Approved by the Heads of Government Participating In the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, Washington D. C. 1999 p.5.

[11] AJP-3.4 Non Article 5 Crisis Response Operations, NSA, Brussels 2004.

[12] W. Lida: Operacje reagowania kryzysowego jako podstawowy obszar użycia sił zbrojnych, [w:] Współczesne i przyszłe zagrożenia bezpieczeństwa a rozwój sił zbrojnych, Materials are taken from the Science Conference,

Ibid., p.124.

[13] Ibid., p.125.

[14] AJP-3.4 Non Article 5 Crisis Response Operations, NSA, Brussels 2004, pkt 0402.

[15] W. Lida: Operacje reagowania kryzysowego jako podstawowy obszar użycia sił zbrojnych, [w:] Współczesne i przyszłe zagrożenia bezpieczeństwa a rozwój sił zbrojnych, Ibid., p.127-128.

[16] Ibid., p.14-15.

[17] C. Lubiński: globalne i narodowe środowisko bezpieczeństwa a przyszłe operacje z udziałem sił zbrojnych RP, [w:] Współczesne i przyszłe zagrożenia bezpieczeństwa, a rozwój sił zbrojnych, Ibid., p.22-24.

[18] Speech of the Polish Minister of Defense Bogdan Klich at the International Science Conference held by theNationalDefenseAcademy [w:] Współczesne i przyszłe zagrożenia bezpieczeństwa, a rozwój sił zbrojnych, Ibid., p.16-18.

[19] Ibid., p.11.

[20] Ibid., p.12.

[21] A. Wojtan: Misje, zadania i właściwości użycia sił zbrojnych w przyszłych operacjach, [w:] Współczesne i przyszłe zagrożenia bezpieczeństwa, a rozwój sił zbrojnych, wyd. cyt., p.174-175.

[22] Ibid., p.17-20.

[23] D. Alberts, J. Garstka, F. Stein: Network Centric Warfare, DoD C4ISR Research Program, Washington D.C. 2000, p.88.

[24] J. Kręcikij: Network Centric Acting. Selected Problems,NationalDefenseAcademy,Warsaw, p.39.

[25] Vision of the Armed Forces of theRepublic ofPoland - 2030, Ibid., p.14.

[26] Ibid., p.29-31.