moja polska zbrojna
Od 25 maja 2018 r. obowiązuje w Polsce Rozporządzenie Parlamentu Europejskiego i Rady (UE) 2016/679 z dnia 27 kwietnia 2016 r. w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych i w sprawie swobodnego przepływu takich danych oraz uchylenia dyrektywy 95/46/WE (ogólne rozporządzenie o ochronie danych, zwane także RODO).

W związku z powyższym przygotowaliśmy dla Państwa informacje dotyczące przetwarzania przez Wojskowy Instytut Wydawniczy Państwa danych osobowych. Prosimy o zapoznanie się z nimi: Polityka przetwarzania danych.

Prosimy o zaakceptowanie warunków przetwarzania danych osobowych przez Wojskowych Instytut Wydawniczy – Akceptuję

Plan for Division

With Norbert Iwanowski about the work on the formation of the 1st Legions Infantry Division, the largest tactical union in the Polish Armed Forces, which has just received the most state-of-the-art equipment, talks Ewa Korsak.

You were first to come up with the idea to form the fifth division in the Polish army. How do you describe this formation?

The 1st Legions Infantry Division [1DPL] will become the largest one among the tactical units in the Polish Armed Forces, and its tasks will include the strengthening of the eastern wall of our country. It will fit in the space between the area of responsibility of the 16th Mechanized Division [16DZ] and 18th Mechanized Division [18DZ]. The formation will be of significant mobility and firepower, capable of rapid force projection in the region of threat in order to deter a potential aggressor or stop his aggression along with other divisions. The formation will also have capabilities for non-military crisis, such as supporting specialized state units in eliminating the effects of natural disasters or technical breakdowns. The concept I worked on with a large team of officers from the Polish Ministry of Defense, General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Command of the Armed Forces, Operational Command of the Armed Forces and the Inspectorate for Armed Forces Support is based on three pillars. The first one is general frames of the formation as outlined by Mariusz Błaszczak, Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, and regarding its form, structure, personnel and standard military gear. The second one is experience gained during the formation of 18th Mechanized Division and the implementation of good practices and solutions. The third pillar, procedural one, is related mainly with the increasing personnel potential and combat technique in a division as well as with an integration with NATO. The division troops will be deployed along the strip east to the Vistula River, and we very carefully picked their locations, taking into account many factors which we defined after thorough analysis of both, geographical and operational environment.

Factors such as access to military infrastructure?

Rather access to locations where it’s going to be built. But let start from the beginning. When our team was recommending the locations for the detachments of the 1st Legions Infantry Division, we paid attention to whether there terrains are owned by the army or state treasure. Simply said, we wanted territories which could be rapidly acquired and where we could quickly start building infrastructure from scratch. Obviously, we know it’s going to take some time. Still, I thought that first we have to build a proper infrastructure for infantry barracks, staff, accommodation, and only then we’ll be able to accommodate soldiers and equipment there. Meantime, we we’ll be able to use temporary infrastructure, such as containers. We do that in already in some selected detachments.

Back to the concept itself: another criterium for selecting locations was related to demography. We will be recruiting volunteers from, for instance, voluntary military service, as well as from active and passive reserve. We did some research on the job markets of specific locations. We checked the job structure, unemployment level, access to education or health services, and to housing. We wanted to know whether the army can become an attractive and competitive employer. We overlayed a lot of data, created a lot of graphs, diagrams and analyses, which were a valuable indication while selecting specific locations. Finally, we talked with local authorities.

In order to find out whether they want to have the army stationed in their village?

Sure, they want! The army today offers to the local people not only the opportunities for employment, but also the feeling of security. People these days feel insecure about the events in Ukraine, so the proximity of army barracks and soldiers is good for their daily functioning. The presence of the army in the region inspires the growth of small local businesses, such as stores or service shops, which translates into the money for local governments. In short, all is speeding up. Local authorities were very much interested, but we had certain requirements. We need good access to schools, healthcare, sporting and cultural facilities. These are standard factors, which make people live and serve comfortably in a certain place. Finally, we created a map of suitable locations: Ciechanów, Ślubowo, Brodnica, Ostrołęka, Białystok…

How will the map of detachments subordinate to the division look like?

The heart of the division, which is the command, staff and communication battalion, will be stationed in Ciechanów. General military brigades will be in Kolno, Grajewo, Czerwony Bór and Brodnica. In Iława, an artillery brigade will be formed. The battalions will also be formed in Brodnica and Białystok (among others). The support detachments will be located in Wielbark, Chełm, Ostrołęka and Łomża.

Some of these locations are rather small towns. Do you think there will in fact be a sufficient number of people wanting to join the army?

I don’t expect significant problems. The fundament for building personnel and structures of the division will be formed by soldiers of voluntary military service, complemented by professional soldiers from the armed forces’ resources. This is an enormous base of people that we use. Local recruitment centers do some great job, promoting the army and service. Deputy Prime Minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, strongly supports the acquirement of new soldiers, so I am sure it will be ok.

Still, at the beginning, the division must have well trained personnel.

Of course, the personnel will also include officers, such as the graduates of military universities, and NCOs, the task of whom will be training the volunteers. The last ones, after completing basic and specialist training, will be sent to, i.e., training centers, where they will continue to specialize more specifically. Next, they will enter the phase of training to tune in the subunits at the different levels of command.

Will volunteers be looked for also among the TDF soldiers?

Many Territorial Defense Forces soldiers want to become professional soldiers, but their detachments are already assembled. These soldiers will find their place in a division as privates, candidates for NCOs after they complete Sonda training or for officers after Agrykola training. It’s very important to keep these soldiers in service. That’s why trainings should be very attractive, organized in a national and international environment, with the best specialists, on different terrains and with the use of modern combat technique. I already have an idea for such a program, and I will gradually implement my concept. I would like a soldier of the 1st Legions Infantry Division to build its professionalism every day, and was flexible in responding to a changing environment, distinguished by high morale and the power of leadership. Such a showcase should contribute to the will to serve in this new formation.

Surely you realize how crowded the training fields are at the moment. Where such trainings should take place then?

It is a challenge, that’s a fact. NATO forces use our training fields, and often their needs are priority. Deputy prime minister accepted my recommendation to return to the functioning of division training centers. Two of these will be created in Czerwony Bór and Ślubów, and I will do my best to start the work as soon as possible.

Frequent and attractive trainings are to attract soldiers, but I think that nothing better encourages candidates to service as state-of-the-art equipment.

That’s true. A division in fact will be provided only with new equipment. There will be no room for any post-Soviet gear. The equipment will come from Poland and abroad, e.g. South Korea, the United States or Turkey.

What else will be specific for the 1st Legions Infantry Division?

Chemical battalion, for sure. It’s crucial in the reality of today, not only in case of armed or subliminal conflict, but also in relation with the above-mentioned non-military threats or technical disasters. What I mean here are such situations as the release of toxic substances or contamination of some area. We have to have forces and resources to neutralize them.

We’re talking about plans and concepts, but when will the division actually start?

The work on the formation of a division will be divided into two phases. The first one starts now with the formation of reconnaissance, chemical and sapper detachments. In the upcoming future, the motorized and tank detachments will start forming. In the second phase, the formation of mechanized, support and service teams will start, and the entire process will take several years.

Rozmawiała: Ewa Korsak

autor zdjęć: Michał Niwicz

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