Polish NATO image stained as top generals quit

EPA/ADAM WARZAWA POLAND OUT

Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces general Mieczyslaw Cieniuch (C), Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, Lt. Gen. Peter Vojtek (R) and Chief of General Staff of the Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel (L) during a press conference after the meeting of Chiefs of Staff of the Visegrad Group in Sopot, 17 April 2013.

As top brass generals resign, Poland’s reputation suffers another blow


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The Polish Armed Forces General Command (DGRSZ) resigned on Friday, March 4; put otherwise, the five most senior generals of the Polish armed forced resigned ahead of NATO’s Anaconda exercise in June and Warsaw’s NATO Summit in July.

DGRSZ is losing its joint chief of staff. On February 29, Division General Ireneusz Bartniak has offered his resignation, Defense News reports. Three army commanders and one Navy Vice Admiral followed on Friday, according to the daily Polityka.

Anaconda is a 25,000 troop Polish-led exercise that would demonstrate Poland’s ability to emerge as a security provider – or a “frame nation” – in a region that other powers have not as yet deployed troops or major weapon systems. Anakonda 16 validates the requirements set at the NATO Wales Summit held in September 2014 in time for members of the alliance to reconvene at the upcoming Warsaw summit; 16 nations participate, including Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Poland was hoping to demonstrate that its own command would be central to the coordination of multinational forces in the region. It may just do that, but Warsaw’s reputation is wounded.

The generals’ move comes as a reaction to what some local media describe as a lustration campaign initiated by Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz of officers that graduated from Soviet military academies. Rather than providing an explanation for the resignation of the country’s officers’ elite – the cream of the crop of Polish military experience – the ministry accused the officers of fleeing in a time of need for Poland.

The generals refused to comment on the reasons they offered their resignations. The experience lost to the Polish armed forces is considerable.

An officer with a 35-year long career,Division General Janusz Bronowicz served on the 9th Iraq rotation that nearly took over single-handily the city of Diwaniya. He is leaving at the age of 55.

General Janusz Bronowicz was the Land Forces’ General Inspector and led Poland’s 6th rotation to Afghanistan. These soldiers were to lead Anakonda 2016 and will now do so with lower morale. His resignation is followed by that of his deputies, Generals Andrzej Andrzej Kuśnierek and Stanisław Olszański. 

The Navy is said to be losing Vice-Admiral Marian Ambroziak. 

This is only the latest in a string of development since the coming to power of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) administration, which has introduced controversial reforms in media, justice, and apparently the army.

(AFP, Polityka, Defense News)

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