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Poland launches simplified voluntary military service

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Warsaw, Poland – The Polish government is launching this week a new form of voluntary military service to bolster its armed forces and defence capabilities.

Compulsory military service was abandoned in Poland in 2009, but Poles interested in a career in the armed forces had to options: undertaking the professional military service or enrolling in the Territorial Defence Forces, founded five years ago.

In line with an ambitious defence bill passed in March and with the government’s bid to double the size of its army, the new voluntary general military service adds a third option.

Recruits will first go through a 28-day basic training period with a military unit, before performing 11 months of specialist training. Volunteers will receive a monthly pay of about 4,500 zlotys (approximately €980) throughout the one-year training.

Poles who complete the voluntary military service will be allowed to join the country’s Territorial Defence Forces or the active reserve, and have priority to join the professional army.

Recruitment is open from Saturday, May 21, either online or at over 100 recruitment points across the country.

The Polish army is currently made up of about 112,000 professional soldiers and more than 30,000 volunteer territorial troops.

The Homeland Defence Act passed in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine aims to bring Poland’s defence spending to 3% of GDP and double the size of its armed forces to 300,000 (250,000 professional soldiers and 50,000 territorials).