Military: Poland's Dad’s army
5 August 2009
“Fit and healthy army and police officers retire after 15 years of service. They return the very next day, but this time as civilian employees," reports Gazeta Wyborcza on its front page. The military currently employs close to 7,000 retired officers, which at the end of 2008 accounted for 13 percent of the military's total headcount. A similar phenomenon, though on a smaller scale, occurs with the police. “I was an inspector, working as head of the administrative office,” says a 40-year-old former career officer from southern Poland. “I retired after 25 years of service. The next day I reported to the same office, only this time as a civilian employee. I do more or less the same as before.” How do retired army and police officers get civilian jobs in the army? “You strike up acquaintances over years. If you do well by people, they won't let you die," explains a police officer who has just retired.
This week, Rzeczpospolita reports, the last conscripts left the barracks as the Polish armed forces became fully professional. However, while the army has no money to recruit conscripts returning to civilian life, it obviously finds enough to employ ex-officers receiving pension or disability benefits.