Spending and investment in the military sector is one of the priorities when planning the state budget for the calendar year. On August 24, 2023, the Council of Ministers adopted a preliminary draft budget law for 2024. The government, which recently resigned, identified spending on: military security, social programs and health care for Poles as the most important in the budget1. It stipulated that on an annual basis, overall revenues are to amount to PLN 683.6 billion, while projected expenditures are to amount to PLN 848.3 billion, while estimating a deficit of PLN 164.8 billion2.

Expenditures and investments in the broader state defense are planned at about 4% of GDP3. In 2024, budget income including funds raised from the European Union is projected at PLN 3778 billion. Detailed spending plans are given in the “National Defense” section and divided into several parts4. Moreover, in the special purpose reserve, funds have been secured for the implementation of the multi-year program “Equipping the Polish Armed Forces with tanks” in the amount of PLN 4.8 billion. These funds will be transferred to the Armed Forces Support Fund (FWSZ). In addition, expenditures of up to about PLN 40 billion have been planned from the funds of the FWSZ for defense-related purposes.

All the concretized investments will cost taxpayers PLN 158 billion5. The draft budget law was approved by the Council of Ministers on September 26, 20236.

The planned defense spending for 2024 has been increased. For comparison, in the past decade, these expenditures were as follows: in 2023 – PLN 97.4 billion (3% of GDP)7, in 2022 – PLN 73.6 billion (2.4% of GDP)8, in 2021 – PLN 57.7 billion (2.2% of GDP)9, in 2020 – PLN 49 billion (2.4% of GDP)10, in 2019 – PLN 44.7 billion (2.2% of GDP)11, in 2018 – PLN 41.1 billion (2%)12, in 2017 – PLN 37.7 billion (1.9% of GDP)13, in 2016 – PLN 35.9 billion (1.99% of GDP)14, in 2015 – PLN 38.4 billion (1.95% of GDP)15, while in 2014 – PLN 32.04 billion (1.9% of GDP)16. As you can see, there is a continuous upward trend and ever-increasing defense spending.

One of the effects of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in 2022 is the increase in spending allocated in 2023 for armaments by most NATO member states. It is particularly noticeable in frontline states, i.e. those that border or are close to Russia. According to data released by NATO, only 11 member states allocate the required 2% of GDP for defense. The leader in this regard is Poland, which set aside 3% of GDP for this purpose in 2023, and plans to spend as much as 4% in 2024. Second place goes to the United States with 3.49% of GDP. The only country outside of those mentioned that allocates more than 3% of GDP to defense is Greece. The list of 11 leading Alliance member states that meet the requirement to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense still includes Estonia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, the United Kingdom and Slovakia. Most of these are countries on NATO’s eastern flank, which is most threatened by the imperial policies of the Russian Federation. Of the countries that do not meet the Alliance’s requirements, France comes closest to meeting them (1.9% of GDP), followed closely by Montenegro (1.87%), North Macedonia (1.87%) and Bulgaria (1.84%). Germany (1.57%) and Italy (1.46%) fare noticeably worse on the list. Luxembourg (0.72%), Belgium (1.13%) and Spain (1.26%)17 round out the table.

It is worth noting that Ukraine, which is fighting a full-scale war with Russia, has allocated a colossal value of its GDP for defense spending in 2023. They have been estimated at as much as 43%, or about $30 billion18. It should be noted that Ukraine’s budget most likely does not include in any form the unpaid military support provided by allies (other than equipment and war materiel), including in the form of organized training and monetary donations to fund it.



1 Service of the Republic of Poland, Council of Ministers adopted draft budget for 2024, online – https://www.gov.pl/web/finanse/rada-ministrow-przyjela-projekt-budzetu-na-2024-rok [accessed: 9.11.2023].

2 T. Dmitruk, Up to PLN 158 billion for defense in 2024, online – https://dziennikzbrojny.pl/aktualnosci/news,1,11884,aktualnosci-z-polski,do-158-mld-pln-na-obronnosc-w-2024-roku [accessed: 9.11.2023].

3 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) –one of the basic measures of the labor effects of a country’s population used in national accounts. Gross Domestic Product describes the aggregate value of final goods and services produced by national and foreign factors of production on the territory of a country in a certain unit of time (usually within a year) , vide: M. Taylor, G. Mankiw, Macroeconomics, PWE, Warsaw 2009, pp. 30, 32.

4 PAP Local Government Service, Budget Law for 2024, online – https://samorzad.pap.pl/sites/default/files/2023-08/projekt%20ustawy%20budżetowej%20na%20rok%202024.pdf [accessed: 9.11.2023].

5 T. Dmitruk, Up to PLN 158 billion for defense in 2024, op. cit.

6 Service of the Republic of Poland, Draft forwarded to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, online – https://www.gov.pl/web/finanse/projekt-przekazany-do-sejmu-rp3 [accessed: 9.11.2023]

7 New Military Technology, Poland’s defense budget for 2023, online – https://portalmilitarny.pl/artykuly/nowa-technika-wojskowa/budzet-obronny-polski-na-2023-rok/ [accessed: 15.11.2023].

8 Armed Journal, 2.4% of GDP for Poland’s defense in 2022, online – https://dziennikzbrojny.pl/aktualnosci/news,1,11823,aktualnosci-z-polski,24-pkb-na-obronnosc-polski-w-2022-roku [accessed: 15.11.2023].

9 Armed Journal, Execution of the defense budget in 2021, online – https://dziennikzbrojny.pl/artykuly/art,2,4,11651,armie-swiata,wojsko-polskie,wykonanie-budzetu-obronnego-w-2021-roku [accessed: 15.11.2023].

10 Journal Gazeta Prawna, Poland’s defense spending in 2020. Defense Ministry provides data, online – https://finanse.gazetaprawna.pl/artykuly/8053020,wydatki-obronne-polski-2020-rok-pkb.html [accessed: 15.11.2023].

11 R. Lisiecki, Nearly PLN 44.7 billion for defense in 2019, online – https://defence24.pl/legislacja/prawie-447-mld-zl-na-obronnosc-w-2019-r [accessed: 15.11.2023].

12 R. Lisiecki, Poland’s defense budget according to NATO – 2.05 percent of GDP in 2018 and 1.89 percent of GDP in 2017. [ANALYSIS], online – https://defence24.pl/polityka-obronna/polski-budzet-obronny-wedlug-nato205-proc-pkb-w-2018-r-i-189-proc-pkb-w-2017-r-analiza [accessed: 15.11.2023].

13 Ibidem.

14 Defence24, DEFENSE MINISTRY: 1.99% of GDP for defense in 2016. More money for the army soon?, online – https://defence24.pl/mon-199-pkb-na-obrone-w-2016-roku-wkrotce-wiecej-pieniedzy-dla-armii [accessed: 15.11.2023].

15 Money.pl, Military spending will rise to 2 percent of GDP. The president signed the bill, online – https://www.money.pl/gospodarka/unia-europejska/wiadomosci/artykul/wydatki-na-armie-wzrosna-do-2-proc-pkb,24,0,1864984.html [accessed: 15.11.2023].

16 M. Dura, Defense Ministry budget in 2014. Modernization programs at risk?, online – https://defence24.pl/sily-zbrojne/budzet-mon-w-2014-r-programy-modernizacyjne-zagrozone [accessed: 15.11.2023].

17  WszystkoCoNajważniejsze, Poland leads NATO in defense spending, online – https://wszystkoconajwazniejsze.pl/pepites/polska-liderem-nato-w-wydatkach-na-obronnosc/ [accessed: 15.11.2023].

18 A. Wilk, P. Żochowski, 43% of Ukraine’s defense budget. 253rd day of war, online – https://www.osw.waw.pl/pl/publikacje/analizy/2022-11-04/43-budzetu-ukrainy-na-obrone-253-dzien-wojny [accessed: 15.11.2023].

Photo: Plann, How to earn money?, online – https://www.plannthat.com/how-to-earn-money-and-monetize-content-on-instagram/ [accessed: 1.12.2023].

Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.