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Poland Table of Contents


National Security Agencies

In January 1991, Walesa began forming a National Security Council (Rada Bezpieczenstwa Narodowego--RBN) that would take the place of the KOK as the chief security policy advisory body to the executive branch. The KOK had been established by Gomulka for administration of wartime efforts (it also implemented communist party decisions during the martial law period). The RBN would have the broader task of determining appropriate defense measures against military, economic, and ecological threats to national security. It would be directed by the Bureau of National Security (BBN) and headed by a representative of Walesa. It would include experts in military, legal, foreign affairs, and domestic security matters. Because of this broad mission and RBN's direct subordination to the president, Walesa's plan immediately ran afoul of the Sejm, which refused to pass legislation making the RBN an official government body. The RBN then existed in 1991 and 1992 as an unofficial adjunct to the president's office, but the Sejm had no legal obligation to follow the RBN's policy recommendations.

By mid-1992 the RBN was taking an active and controversial role in defense planning, largely because the responsibility for national security planning had not been firmly assigned to any agency. Walesa's enemies attacked the RBN because the agency's bimonthly meetings allowed interested parties to attend unofficially and, under that stipulation, some of Walesa's cronies seemed to have access to classified information. Jan Parys, an advocate of higher force strength as a prerequisite for national security, engaged in polemics with RBN officials over budget cuts and restructuring during 1992 when he was minister of national defense.

In the meantime, the KOK had continued to exist as the official maker of national defense policy. Control of national security was a key issue of Olszewski's term as prime minister; after Olszewski's ouster, the atmosphere of defense policy making calmed, and the KOK recovered some of its stature. However, it was the BBN that issued a new defense doctrine, including potential threats and recommended responses, in July 1992. The doctrine, produced by a task force representing the General Staff and the ministries of national defense, foreign affairs, and internal affairs, became official when ratified by the KOK in the fall of 1992. The Little Constitution, ratified in October 1992, officially renamed the KOK as the RBN and prescribed changes in the structure and control of the existing agency.

Data as of October 1992