WARSAW, Poland (AP) — In an unprecedented move, Poland's president has appointed army Lt. Gen. Marek Tomaszycki as commander of the nation's armed forces in case of war.
Bronislaw Komorowski said Monday the appointment was a reaction to increased threats and instability in the region. He stopped short of mentioning an armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russia rebels, or conflicts in the Middle East.
The extraordinary measure stems from new regulations for Poland's armed forces that were proposed by Komorowski. He argued that Poland, a European Union and NATO frontier country, is facing new security challenges and needs to streamline its defenses.
Komorowski is the chief commander of the armed forces. The regulations give the president the right to announce the start and the end of a "time of war."
In line with the new regulations, the 57-year-old Tomaszycki is "candidate for Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in time of war," but would automatically be put in charge of Poland's defense effort in case of a conflict. He is currently the Operational Commander of the Armed Forces. The appointment obliges him to take part in test range exercises, strategy games and in planning of Poland's defense.
Once a Moscow satellite, Poland is concerned over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine and is strengthening its own defenses as well as seeking security assurances from its NATO and U.S. allies.
Also Monday, Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak discussed security issues with U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah James.