The challenges of the development of the armed forces at the beginning of the 21st century - the world and Poland

Stanisław Zajas


The transition from the 20th to the 21st century represents a period of time with very important and fundamental changes in international politics, especially in the field of security, both all over the world and in individual nations and societies. The dynamic change process is above all connected with the disintegration of the Warsaw Treaty and with the guarantee of security and of economic development especially in Europe. Poland is a member of NATO and the EU. Thanks to these memberships our level of security has increased. This also results from the alliance principles (Art. V Washington Treaty) and from the membership in the European Community. This also means that NATO and the EU will have to adapt to the present and future challenges in the political-military field. The probability of an outbreak of a global armed conflict is still rated low. The main threats, however, radiate from the following dangers: international terrorism, uncontrolled proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, outbreaks of local conflicts based on religious, ethnic, economic or social tensions, collapse of states, and international crime. In order to prevent and solve threats resulting from these crises, a stronger commitment of NATO, OSCE and EU will be necessary. If the armed forces of the alliance are to take part in such actions, they must have readiness components at their disposal which excel by high mobility and short periods of preparation for long-term military missions in remote regions. New threats for security and stability also mean a re-planning of the development, deployment, equipment and training of armed forces. The focus of attention of such forces will have to shift from the classical military deployment to the fighting against threats. These are not easily identified, turn up suddenly, and represent a global danger for politics, society, economy and military. Being in possession of appropriately equipped and trained units can fight these dangers today and in future. Analyses have proved that the importance of network-centric warfare will increase in future. Its basic concept is guaranteeing information superiority by establishing a joint information network. Thus, providing topical and indispensable information on the conflict area to all members is rendered possible. The armed forces of the Republic of Poland will have to alter their so far processes in order to make an effective defence possible and to be able to take part in international missions outside its state territory. Achieving these aims and capabilities will not only depend on our national ambitions, but also on the economic means of our nation. Poland will go on participating actively in the international community and will thus be a reliable partner and ally who make an important contribution to regional and international peace.