Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999, despite strong Russian opposition.

  • Poland, a moderately large nation with a population of 38 million, is a key frontline member of NATO. Along with the Baltic states, it serves as a buffer (as it has historically) shielding Germany and Western Europe from Russia and other attackers from the east.

  • Warsaw takes its obligations to NATO very seriously, cooperates with the alliance on multiple levels, and is one of the few member-states honoring the commitment to devote at least two percent of its GDP to defense.


    • Increased military spending by Poland

      • Poland plans to devote an additional $55 billion to defense and military modernization by 2032.

    • Participation in NATO military exercises

      • The most recent exercises featuring Poland’s participation were Baltops (June 3 – 15, 2018) and Saber Strike (June 6 – 23, 2018).

      • Participation in Baltic Air Policing protecting the airspace of the Baltic states

    • Participation in multinational NATO formations

      • Participation in and hosting the headquarters for NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin

      • The headquarters of NATO’s Multinational Division Northeast are located in Elbląg, and a NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) – in charge of facilitating the deployment of rapid response forces – is based in Bydgoszcz (additional NFIUs are based in other eastern flank countries).

      • Participation in the Canadian-led battlegroup based in Adazi, Latvia. In addition, the US-led Battle Group Poland has its headquarters in Orzysz in northeastern Poland.

      • The four battle groups on NATO’s eastern flank – in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – are part of the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence. They are a response to Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and the decision to deploy them was made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July 2016.

      • On NATO’s southeastern flank, Poland has contributed a contingent to the Romanian-based Multinational Division Southeast (MND-SE) as part of NATO’s Tailored Forward Presence (TFP)

      • The national troop contingents which make up the battlegroups are rotated every six months.

      • Contributions to the NATO Response Force - e.g., Poland was in charge of the special forces component in 2015 and the anti-WMD forces in 2016.

    • Participation in NATO and US-led out-of-area security missions