The Polish government, led by the national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, has announced its plans to commit 4% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending, which per current figures will be the highest of any NATO member—including the United States.
The announcement, made by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday, January 30th, comes amid grossly heightened security concerns precipitated by the Russo-Ukrainian war, and as Poland has been hailed as on course to become the European Union’s military superpower, the Warsaw-based political news magazine Do Rzeczy reports.
“The war in Ukraine makes us arm ourselves even faster. That is why, this year, we will make an unprecedented effort: 4% of GDP for the Polish army,” Morawiecki said during comments given at a press conference in the city of Siedlce, in eastern Poland, where, together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak, he met with soldiers of the 18th Mechanized Division.
“Today, we are already bringing K2 tanks to Poland. K9 cannon howitzers and HIMARS have been ordered and are coming to Poland soon. Already on Polish soil are Patriots, state-of-the-art anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems. We are importing state-of-the-art equipment to Poland, and we are producing ours like the Krabs, like the Thunderbirds,” the prime minister noted, emphasizing that it is the Polish government’s “highest absolute priority” to strengthen the country’s armed forces.
Between 2015 and today, the number of soldiers in the Polish Armed Forces has risen from 95,000 to roughly 164,000. By 2035, the government hopes to have as many as 300,000 troops, which would significantly outnumber Germany’s 170,000 enlisted military men and women.
In the summer of 2022, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that Poland, in the near future, intends to have the “strongest land force in Europe.”
Last year, Poland spent 2.4% of its GDP on defense, with only the United States and Greece spending more in terms of the percentage of their GDP. All members of the NATO alliance are expected to reach the benchmark of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense by the year 2024. Some countries—like Poland, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom—proposed at a recent NATO meeting that the target should be even higher in light of the sky-high tensions caused by the Russo-Ukrainian war.