Admission to NATO was one of the priorities of Poland’s foreign and security policy in the 1990s. Our participation in “Partnership for Peace” program was a significant element of preparations for membership. We have been participating in the program since 1994. Poland achieved its strategic target on 12 March 1999. Membership in NATO made our engagement in its activity more dynamic and enabled us wider integration with its structures.
Membership in NATO is still the main pillar of Poland’s security policy. Acting according to Article 5 of Washington Treaty, the Alliance is a warranty of security for our country. It also makes reacting to new threats more and more possible. It concerns terrorism, proliferation of weapon of mass destruction and threats connected with energetic security.
Poland perceives the Alliance as significant forum of dialogue and consultations in transatlantic relations, within “Partnership for Peace” program and in special relations with Russia and Ukraine. Poland also supports further NATO enlargement.
Stabilisation activities carried out in different regions of the world show the role of the Alliance in international security. Poland participates in all the most important NATO operations: in Afghanistan (ISAF), Kosovo (KFOR), Iraq (training mission NTM-I) and in the Mediterranean Sea (Active Endeavour).
At the moment engagement in Afghanistan is a priority for Poland. Almost 2000 soldiers are deployed there. It is the first NATO operation of this kind. It requires performing various military and civilian tasks, aiming at ensuring security and stability as well as gradual reconstruction of the country. That is why it is very important for NATO’s role in the future.
Military transformation is a condition of performing operational tasks of the Alliance effectively. The need for such adaptation according to new challenges and threats was noticed in the 1990s. Decisions made during NATO summits in Prague (2002), Istanbul (2004) and Riga (2006) were further basic incentives for development of military capabilities. Activity in Afghanistan confirmed the necessity for continuing the changes.
Poland participates in many transformation initiatives such as NATO Response Force (NRF), concerning transport aircraft C-17 or special forces. In Bydgoszcz there is Joint Forces Training Centre, an important element of NATO command structure.