WEI's Memorandum about territorial defence
I. The geopolitical situation of Poland becomes more and more complicated. The biggest threats are related to potential marginalization, or even disintegration of European Union, and the “Concert of Europe”, or connivance for establishing Russian sphere of influence in the east of Europe. Repeated Russian offers for US and the West of setting the reciprocal influences borders boil down to exactly this.
II. Given such situation, Poland ought to be able to defend its borders independently. We would welcome any help and support from our NATO allies in case of danger, but we must be able to defend ourselves alone. There is no 100%-certitude that such help would come, and in what size, and after what time if so.
III. Obviously, we are not familiar with Polish, nor with NATO's potential plans in case of war with Russia. Even without this knowledge however, given the number of our military forces and their equipment, we can assume that Polish defending strategy is based on the professional army troops supported after a while by allies' forces. We call on to revise this strategy. We are convinced that Polish defending strategy should include a deterring potential. It can be achieved not by filling Polish Army with offensive measures of precise striking, since they are expensive and we can't afford to supply sufficient quantity to destroy crucial elements of the war machine of the enemy, but by the common Territorial Defence (TD).
IV. Operational army troops and precise weapons are Polish pride. Among politicians, our generals have become masters in provoking fascination with modern army and modern weapon. But the naked truth is that we only have enough of this precise weapon to last couple of days of war, when, potentially, our 15 brigades would have to face 45 Russian brigades and delay their march until our allies would join us. We won't defend Poland only with operational troops and precise weapon.
V. The enemy wouldn't risk a war if it meant high people losses caused by the common Territorial Defence. During military operations, the Territorial Defence can lead many delaying operations, and efficient guerilla war in case of occupation. The newest history shows too many examples of regular army being bogged down by guerilla actions to ignore it. The deterring system of Territorial Defence should be based on three pillars: (1) access to military weapons for citizens, what would result in radical augmentation of public order and could help to defend civilians against criminals in case of war; (2) A-class TD troops – equipped with manual anti-aircraft and anit-tank weapons, taking part in military training, relatively well-trained, and operating at tactics level within platoons; (3) B-class TD troops equipped with manual weapons, machine guns and grenades – less often taking part in military trainings, not-so-well trained, and operating at tactics level within small groups.
VI. The TD troops should be composed of soldiers from the same neighbourhoods, knowing and trusting each other. Companies, perishes, huntsmen associations, voluntary fire-fighters, pro-defence groups etc. should constitute fundamental base for forming such units. They should be equipped and trained by the army. Excluding the trainings, weapon should be stored in safes in the premises of above-mentioned units. According to our estimations, provided using adequate mechanisms - also tax mechanisms, creation of about 150 such groups is feasible. They could mobilise around 700 thousand citizens to defending activities. If such a plan was realised, a risk of our country to be assaulted would become significantly lower.
VII. Formation of TD in mass scale is urgent. It should not be initiated and managed by the regular army though. Generals should focus on managing operational troops and leave TD to civil managers. Regular army should only control storing and supplies of TD 's weapon, and retired soldiers should train TD soldiers. Paying a lot of attention to professionalism in modern army will never let TD to be treated seriously by regular soldiers, it would always be low on the priority list. It is not even question of the attitude of the army – it is a system model. Servicemen will always focus first on what they have been called to – operational troops. That's why these are civilians who should take care of the territorial defence.
VIII. As modern armed conflicts show, having even the most modern weapons, army is indispensable to conquer a territory. Polish TD forces of around 700 thousand soldiers would demand enemy's forces to be much bigger than in case of solely regular army protection. This would be an essential deterring factor. It is not truth, as military often claims, that those troops would be of low fighting quality, badly-trained and easy to eliminate. Russian generals who have lost in Afghanistan against illiterate highlanders can confirm it. Or those who have fought the “volunteers” in the Donetsk's airport. An essential element of the fighting value of a soldier is his motivation. It has been confirmed by all of the armed conflicts of the last century. And we are certain about such strong motivation among Polish volunteers in TD.
IX. Territorial defence is relatively cheap in comparison with the operational army – filled with precise weapon, where one missile can be worth couple of million dollars. Formation of mass territorial defence is also a big chance for Polish economy. We won't be able to produce sufficient quantities of new weapon of sufficient quality for regular army, but Polish companies are able to fully equip Polish Territorial Defence with manual anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, machine guns, ammunition and other indispensable things.
X. We call upon politicians for a legislative initiative for formation of Territorial Defence and access to military-type weapons for civilians. We acknowledge the importance and significance of operational army. There is a lot of space for our generals to operate. But creating and managing of Territorial Defence should stay in civil hands – firstly of politicians, and then of managers and army advisers, who would enlist TD to Polish plans and would take care of trainings and weapon supply. These are politicians and civil managers who should decide in this field. Defending Poland is not only a matter of army, it is a matter of all of us – the citizens.