WARSAW – There is a growing belief that Poland will soon have Europe’s strongest army. Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), has not missed any opportunity to drum this message home, and one increasingly hears it being echoed abroad, too. But is it true?
The claim largely rests on the PiS government’s unprecedented arms purchases and plans to expand the army to 300,000 soldiers by 2035. Under the new national-defense law, military spending should reach 3% of GDP this year – a full percentage point above what is expected of NATO members generally. Jarosław Kaczyński, Poland’s de facto leader, who formally serves as deputy prime minister, has publicly considered a longer-term target of 5% of GDP.