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Poland Civilian Command Structure
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    In mid-1991 an Interministerial Commission for the Reorganization of National Defense submitted its structural reform recommendations to the Council of Ministers, citing the need to amend the constitution and the law on military service. The Ministry of National Defense was to be converted into a civilian organ of state administration with a separate, subordinate armed forces section. Appointment of a civilian minister of national defense would improve the ministry's communications and joint activity with Parliament, state agencies, and the national economy, ensure depolitization of the military, and relieve the military of responsibility for budgets, administration, supply, social issues, and other matters judged more appropriate for a civilian agency. The military section would prepare concepts for national defense, forecast international situations that might bear on national security, plan long-term projects of the arms industry, and assist in export and import policy making.

    Passage of the Little Constitution in the fall of 1992 was expected to define the previously hazy lines of national security authority. However, Walesa expressed open dissatisfaction with the control allotted the presidency, heralding possible future clashes with Parliament and the Council of Ministers over individual aspects of security policy. The Little Constitution specifies that peacetime command of the Polish Army be exercised by the president of the republic and by the prime minister and the Council of Ministers (see Constitutional Revisions after April 1989; Presidency; Council of Ministers , ch. 4). All levels of central and local government are charged with managing aspects of the national defense assigned them by the constitution and by legislation. The president oversees the activities of all such agencies. The president determines the composition of military advisory bodies in peacetime and the composition of a war staff in wartime. After consultation with the prime minister, the president appoints a minister of national defense, after consultation with the minister of national defense, he appoints the chief of the General Staff. In turn, the minister is to consult with the president on appointment of commanders of military districts and the individual services.

    The Sejm is responsible for assigning appropriate levels of annual funding and for passing laws regulating defense. The Sejm's Commission on National Defense was revamped and empowered to call a defense official to testify under oath on general questions of national defense policy. The wartime national defense system gives the president and the Council of Ministers supreme decision-making power; in wartime the Sejm is to appoint the chief commander of the Polish Army, who would have strategic command of all armed forces for the duration of wartime and who would be directly responsible to the president. If the Sejm were not in session when war began, the president would appoint the commander. The Council of Ministers has specific wartime responsibility for organizing supply and other support services from the civilian sector to the armed forces, and for protecting the civilian population from the effects of war. District governors have decision-making power for all administrative and economic units within their jurisdiction.

    The minister of national defense is responsible for shaping and implementing national defense policy. The minister administers the development, education, and training of the armed forces; resolves issues of international cooperation; and oversees defense tasks assigned to outside agencies. The civilian component of the Ministry of National Defense includes vice ministers for social relations and education, defense policy, and armament. The Viceministry for Social Relations and Education includes veterans' affairs, public information, physical education, and departments of education and social policy. The Viceministry for Defense Policy includes strategic planning, foreign relations, legal affairs, mobilization policy, and the National Defense Academy (Akademia Obrony Narodowej--AON). And the Viceministry for Armament includes procurement, research and development, military technical inspection, and military and transportation infrastructure. The minister of national defense also is supported by offices or departments for intelligence (the so-called Department Two), control and supervision, personnel, and finances, as well as the office of the chief military prosecutor.

    Data as of October 1992

    NOTE: The information regarding Poland on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Poland Civilian Command Structure information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Poland Civilian Command Structure should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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