“The money spent on the establishment of the Territorial Defense Forces (WOT) will not in any way interfere with expenditures on the modernization of the Polish Army,” said Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.
On Monday, 14 November, the Minister of National Defence Anthony Macierewicz held a press conference concerning the setting up of the Territorial Defense Forces.
The meeting was attended by the Commander of the Territorial Defence Forces, Col. Wiesław Kukuła, President of the War Studies University, Col. Eng. Ryszard Parafinowicz, Ph.D., and Deputy Director of the Office of the Creation of the Territorial Defense Forces, Col. Arthur Dębczak. It was held at the premises of the Office for the Establishment of the Territorial Defense Forces.
In speaking of costs, the Defence Minister referred to the opinion that the establishment of the WOT was to erode finances earmarked for the modernization of the army. “The WOT are undoubtedly the cheapest way to increase the potential of the army and its national defensive capacity,” said the Defence Minister, adding that according to experts, the territorial defense army are the best answer to the dangers of a hybrid nature, and the concept of their establishment meets the expectations of Poles, who always, when there were threats, formed paramilitary structures.
During the meeting, Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz recalled that later this week there will be the second reading of the proposed bill, envisioned to formally establish the WOT. The Defence Minister pointed out that according to the government-initiated draft law, the Territorial Defense Forces will be set up as the fifth type of armed forces, next to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces.
“The Territorial Defense Forces this year will consist of three brigades, positioned in the following areas: Białystok, Rzeszów and in the Podlasie regions; at the same time, four WOT battalions will be established, consisting of approx. 3,000 soldiers,” said the Defence Minister.
The head of the Defence Ministry added that in 2019, the WOT should number 53,000 soldiers. The government estimates that the cost of the establishment, equipment and operation of territorial defense, up to 2019, will be approx. 3.6 billion PLN.
“We will begin our mission as a new kind of armed forces as soon as the relevant legal acts are adopted,” assured the Commander of the WOT, Col. Wiesław Kukuła. “We will develop in two directions, on two levels. The first area is associated with the establishment of our structures in three voivodeships. We are establishing three brigades there, under whose command fall 4 battalions. Soldiers of fixed-term military service, i.e. professional soldiers, will make up about 6-8% of the general manpower state, depending on the type of sub-units,” said the Commander of the WOT.
“We are also developing a second level, which is the building of the command structure HQ’s of the WOT. Here we are tapping into the 9 years of experience that we have acquired in shaping the command of the Special Forces. We envision that by 31 March 2017, the Command of the WOT will reach initial operational capability and will take over command of the brigades that are currently being created. In the long run, we have plans to establish three brigades: in Olsztyn, Ciechanów and Radom, and develop 11 battalions,” noted the Colonel. “The Territorial Defense Forces will have the character of light infantry units.”
Colonel Kukuła mentioned that the equipping of WOT soldiers will come nearly 100% from Polish companies and that efforts are being made to secure all of this equipment as new.