Polands senate approves defense budget hike

WARSAW, Poland, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Poland's Senate National Defense Commission formally endorsed the country's defense spending budget for 2017.

The $9 billion plan represents a 3.4 percent year-on-year nominal increase from 2016, a year that saw a 9.3 percent uptick. In a statement praising the legislature's decision, Poland's Ministry of Defense asserted the additional funds were necessary to maintain key operational capacity for the armed forces.

"The defense budget will allow for expansion of the military infrastructure in order to smooth the way for the adaptation of the arriving Allied forces in Poland, the expansion of military units in the eastern part of the country and the formation of the Territorial Defense Force," the ministry said.

Also included in the budget are new munition procurements, an increase in soldiers' salaries, and the purchase of VIP government aircraft for high-ranking officials.

Priority tasks for 2017, the ministry adds, include modernization efforts for armored and mechanized troops, unmanned aircraft, combat and security helicopters, and various infrastructure projects.

Legislative support for the defense ministry's budget plans comes as Poland continues to solidify its NATO membership. The former Soviet state entered the alliance in 1999, and has since hosted military exercises as a show of force against Russian aggression in the region.
Ryan Maass

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