In December 2019, Poland’s Ministry of Defence of Poland announced plans for the creation of the first facility responsible for the education and training for all of Poland’s special forces branches. These include Poland’s elite GROM, JWK, and Formoza units. The new center is going to have its headquarters in Lubliniec, Poland and instructors from Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), Florida, have offered their help.
Previously the operators had to rely on the training opportunities given by their own units. Logistics, funding and most importantly – instructors were assigned to each of the units separately. This meant that the options in approach the training of new recruits was very limited. Polish SOF tried to fill the gaps with delegations of operators to NATO member countries, mainly to the US. But with the new planned training centre, these shortcomings and this reliance is about to change very soon.
The creation of the Joint Special Forces Training Centre for the Polish Special Forces is an opportunity to move forward and exchange experiences between units. Training facilities in Krakow, Gdansk, Lubliniec will be now open to all operators. But that is not all. In an interview for Polska Zbrojna Col. Wojciech Smołuch, who is responsible for choosing the right people for this task, said that half of all instructors will be consisting of veterans who left SOF. It is a great move towards preserving the precious knowledge and specialists who can now share their experiences from the battlefield.
The new training center is also looking for candidates without military experience. Polish SOF uses unconventional methods to seek for the best of the best. Anybody can join the recruitment process. The requirements are 18 years of age, physical and psychological abilities and graduation from junior high school. It may not sound like a hard task, but the process of selection is one of the toughest in the World. Candidates will have to pass 6 months of intense survival course and basic training which pushes trainees to their limits. In this case, character and intelligence mean much more than muscles. It also means that the candidates do not have to waste their time in military or police formations in order to try to join the Special Forces, but can focus on other important skills like IT knowledge, languages or interpersonal skills. Women are also free to participate in the selection process. Quite a few have now managed to join JWK and GROM in combat squads.
However, the entire process is not without issues. Members of the special forces who are delegated to the new center may lose their benefits coming from being deployed in combat teams. The Ministry of Defense has to decide whether to increase the pay or deny privileges to active duty members. Former operators seem to be more attracted to share their knowledge as some have already found income by opening their own training facilities.
Poland is moving forward and investing in its special forces, in the hopes they will remain one of the most modern branches of the Polish Armed Forces. Their experience, toughness, and skills are remarkable. The possibility to share that valuable information is going to raise the quality of courses to the next level.