KEY POINTS

Poland has participated in numerous NATO, EU, and US-led security missions, including many outside of its region, even before joining NATO (1999) and the EU (2004).

  • The number of Polish troops and civilian employees serving outside of the country has risen in recent years. According to Poland’s defense ministry, Poland deployed approximately 1,300 – 1,400 military personnel (at a cost of 100 million PLN/$27 million) outside of its borders in 2016 (2018), and approximately 2,500 (at a cost of 186 million PLN/$50 million) in 2017 (2018). These numbers are likely to increase (2018).

  • Although the Polish government and many Poles prefer for the nation to participate in missions closer to the country’s borders – which seem more relevant to increasing combat readiness in the face of potential Russian aggression – Warsaw nevertheless treats its involvement in overseas security missions as a sign of its unwavering commitment to NATO and the US.


EXAMPLES OF POLISH CONTRIBUTIONS TO NATO, EU, & US-LED SECURITY MISSIONS

  • Haiti:
     

    • In the fall of 1994, Poland contributed a contingent – consisting of commandos from the elite special forces unit GROM – to the US-led mission to stabilize Haiti, Operation Uphold Democracy (2016).
       

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina:
     

    • Poland has been contributing a small contingent of troops (39 soldiers) to peacekeeping, training, and advisory efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina for over two decades: first within NATO (1996 – 2004), and subsequently within EUFOR Althea (2004 – present). 

  • Kosovo:
     

    • From 1999 on, a Polish contingent has formed a part of NATO’s Kosovo Force, KFOR (2018); it currently numbers 240 soldiers (data from February 2019). 

    • Poland has also provided a police contingent – the largest police contingent in its history – to assist the UN (1999 – 2008) and, later, the EU (2008 – 2018) in Kosovo.  

  • Afghanistan:

    • Poland currently has 303 troops serving in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission (2019).

    • Polish troops have served in Afghanistan – under the aegis of the US and NATO – since 2002 (2019).
       

  • Iraq:

    • Polish soldiers assisted the US (2003 – 2008) and NATO (2008 – 2011), in Iraq in operational combat, logistical, training, and stabilizing administrative capacities.

    • From 2003 to 2008, Poland was in charge of the South Central zone in Iraq and headed the Multinational Division Central-South.
       

  • Africa:

    • From July 2008 to December 2009, Polish troops assisted EU humanitarian operations in Chad on behalf of refugees fleeing genocide in neighboring Sudan’s Darfur region (2010).

    • In 2013 – 2014, Poland sent a contingent of twenty soldiers to Mali (which was being ravaged by a civil war) as part of the European Union’s Training Mission (EUTM) Mali. The Poles helped train the pro-government forces and provided other kinds of logistical, anti-mine, and counterintelligence support.
       

  • Polish Military Contingent (PMC) “Czernicki” in the Mediterranean and Black Seas:

    • The Polish multipurpose logistical support ship, ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki, participated in operations conducted by the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG 2) in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas from January to July 2017.

    • The Czernicki had earlier taken part in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Polish vessels and sailors have taken part in NATO operations in the Mediterranean since the first half of 2005.
       

  • Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS:

    • From June 20 – December 31, 2016, two Polish contingents took part in the US-led coalition fighting against ISIS in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar. The two contingents were not directly involved in combat. However, PMC Kuwait (four F-16 fighters plus up to 150 soldiers) conducted air reconnaissance while PMC Iraq – consisting of 60 special forces troops – advised and trained their Iraqi counterparts.

    • Poland’s Iraq and Kuwait PMCs also participated in the anti-ISIS struggle from July 1 to December 31, 2017. Their role was extended by President Andrzej Duda until June 2018.
       

  • Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean (2015):

    • From February 1 – December 31, 2018, Poland is participating in the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med), also known as Operation Sophia, combating human smuggling from Libya (2019).