“The modernization process, the process of purchasing equipment for the Polish Army, is long and complicated. Too many entities are involved in this process, and as a consequence responsibility is shifted around, and there is a problem with decision-making. I decided to break it all down,” Polish Minister of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak said during the opening speech at the Defence24 Day defense industry conference.
“We have prepared a draft law on the establishment of the Armaments Agency, which will be the main institution responsible for the procurement of military equipment and the only decision-making center. It will be created as a result of the merger of several institutions,” he added.
Minister at the Defence24 Conference
On Tuesday, September 22 in Warsaw, the head of the Ministry of National Defense participated in the Defence24 Day conference, devoted to strategic aspects of defense in the national and international dimension. The event is a place for debate and exchange of experiences between political decision-makers, representatives of public administration, the leadership of the Polish Armed Forces and experts from the defense industry.
“The Polish Army is the basis and foundation on which the entire security system of our state is built, therefore it must also be modernized. Recent years have seen a dynamic and consistent development of the Polish Armed Forces. The army was equipped with, among others, the Patriot system, Himars missiles, and an agreement was signed for the purchase of the F-35. In addition, over 60% of the orders of the Ministry of National Defense in 2019 were directed to the Polish defense industry. This is a fact and I would like us to keep it in mind,” the minister said.
“Many tasks faced me when I was appointed Minister of National Defense, and the examples mentioned at the beginning, i.e. the size of the army, the modernization of the equipment prove that we have achieved a lot, but it is still too little. The challenges we face are still valid. Therefore, from this point I would like to thank the organizers very much for creating the possibility of a debate to present the project on the establishment of the Armaments Agency and to raise other topics closely related to the security of Poland,” said the head of the Ministry of National Defense.
The main assumption of the reform of the military equipment procurement system, which the minister spoke about during the conference, is the consolidation of tasks presently scattered around the Ministry of National Defense, so that as many competences as possible are concentrated in a single decision-making center.
“I would like to take advantage of your knowledge and your comments. There is one issue in particular that I would like to bring to your attention - this is the future of the Polish arms industry - I mean PGZ.
“There are two possible paths – one is the same as in recent years, i.e. the subordination of PGZ to the Ministry of National Defense. It is also possible for PGZ to be subordinated to the Ministry of State Assets, as from the beginning of this year,” the minister said.
During his speech, the minister presented the most important assumptions regarding the functioning of the Armaments Agency, which in the future would deal with the entire process of acquiring equipment for the Polish Army.
According to the new assumptions, the Armaments Agency will be involved in the entire process of acquiring military equipment, from identifying products that meet operational requirements, through conducting a tender procedure, negotiating and concluding contracts, supervising the quality and use, promoting Polish military equipment on foreign markets and withdrawing it from use.
The structures of the Armaments Agency will include the current Armament Inspectorate, the Inspectorate for the Implementation of Innovative Defense Technologies and the Offset Agreements Office. It will also take over some of the competences of the Military Center for Standardization, Quality and Codification, the Military Property Agency, the Armed Forces Support Inspectorate and the Armament Policy Department.
As the head of the Ministry of National Defense pointed out, it is also necessary to change the purchasing procedure for the Polish Army.
“The basic reason is that this procedure, which is in force today, was tailored to the modernization needs in the amount of PLN 2 billion. Today, the modernization budget of both the Armament Inspectorate and and the Armed Forces Support Inspectorate is ten times larger, so this system is simply inefficient.
“As I said, too many actors are blurring responsibility and making the process ineffective either. The Armaments Agency would be the only decision-making center regarding the purchase of equipment for the Polish army, informed the head of the Ministry of National Defense.”
The Armaments Agency will verify the needs of the Army in detail and make the requirements more realistic.
“Our task is also to spend money rationally and economically. We must achieve our goal. We must ensure that the Polish Army is equipped with modern equipment. However, we must also rationally approach these matters and eliminate everything that causes unjustified increase in costs,” the minister emphasized.
“My basic task, my mission as the minister of national defense is to achieve many goals. The first is that the Polish Army must be larger - it is so. (...) The second goal is to make the Republic of Poland stronger within the NATO alliance, especially in relations with the USA. Here, too, we have an epoch-making event - two declarations were signed by the presidents, Mr. Andrzej Duda, the Supreme Commander of the Polish Armed Forces and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, on strengthening the American presence in Poland, said the head of the Ministry of National Defense.”
Minister Blaszczak emphasized that we are undoubtedly dealing with a real threat to the reconstruction of the Russian empire, the consequence of which is the aggressive Russian policy, which is why strengthening the Polish Army and the defense capabilities of our homeland are the key elements on which the security of our homeland is based.
The main topic of the conference was the reform of the system of acquiring military equipment and weapons for the Polish Armed Forces, as well as the reform of the recruitment process for the Polish army and the threats to cyberspace.
Defence24 Day is an industry conference organized by Defence24 - the largest Polish editorial office dealing with the subject of new technologies in the defense industry, the development of the armed forces and geopolitical analyzes. It is devoted to key issues in the field of defense policy, state defense, national and internal security in the national and international dimension.
During the second edition, representatives of the government, the top management of the Ministry of National Defense, the commanding staff of the Polish army, the defense industry and experts debated, among others on regional cooperation, the NATO defense system of Central and Eastern Europe, reform of the purchasing system in the context of the development of the Polish Armed Forces, reform of recruitment to the Polish army, as well as issues related to cybersecurity. The conference is held under the honorary patronage of the Ministry of National Defense.