President mends Polish army’s general gap

The number of top commanders in the Polish army settled at 75 generals at the beginning of 2019 but the number rose to 82 and is still to increase to 87 on August 15 when Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is expected to promote five officers to the rank of general.

The ceremony will take on the Armed Forces Day, August 15, in the southern Polish city of Katowice and will help mend a gap in the top army ranks.

Currently, there are 82 generals and admirals serving in the Polish Army, including five in the reserve pool, 15 delegated to NATO and the EU and two attached to Polish embassies. In other words, as many as 60 generals and admirals reside on the Polish territory.

Polish commanders man high NATO positions such as general Piotr Błazeusz who became deputy staff commander of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) earlier in August.

Meanwhile, having concluded his service in NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger, Sweden, general Andrzej Reudowicz will return to Poland to strengthen the top echelons of his homeland’s army. According to Poland’s “Rzeczpospolita” daily, he will become the highest presidential councillor in the National Security Bureau (BBN).

The daily has asked the BBN whether any promotions are expected this year. The bureau did not rule out such a scenario and it is possible that promotions will be seen on November 11 – the National Day of Poland. It is also possible that President Duda will promote officers before the date, given the fact that he already broke once the unwritten custom of promoting only on the days of national celebrations.

Although the presidential plans may fill the military staff gap, former Armed Forces General Commander general Mirosław Różański criticised President Duda’s approach as overlooking the fact that generals need to acquire command experience during military missions and pertinent courses.

The BBN head Paweł Soloch said in 2016 that having colonels receive the same salary as generals while not promoting them to the rank “is awkward and impacts our image in NATO” adding that the 120 posts for commanders in the rank of generals that Poland’s National Defence Minister had created needed to be manned with 120 generals.