Defending What Matters Most
At Our Poland Office, Working on IBCS is Personal
By Andrew Clark
For Maciek Kowalski, operations manager in Northrop Grumman’s Poland office, his home is in the crosshairs. A theoretical attack on Poland became very real after reading an article on air defense that showed his life would be within the circle of a destructive missile attack.
“Most of the circles were intersecting with the places I either live, work or go on holidays,” he said. “It makes it so much more real when you see the potential danger affecting the space where you and your kids and your loved ones live.”
Maciek is part of the team bringing Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Battle Command System, or IBCS, to Poland. IBCS is a transformative system, with the unrivaled ability to sense, identify, track and eliminate air and missile threats. It enables enhanced data-gathering across joint networks, increasing situational awareness and time for decision-making. The U.S. Army has approved the system for full rate production and declared Initial Operating Capability for it, and the Polish realization of the system will become fully operational in country later this fall.
“We really need IBCS to be put in place, operational and protecting the skies. Our country suffered two deaths from a stray missile [last year],” he said. Having IBCS will be a game-changer, both when it comes to protecting Maciek’s home in Poland and overall global security.
For Family and Country
When neighboring Ukraine was invaded by Russia in 2022, Maciek and his brother-in-law drove overnight to the Polish-Ukrainian border to rescue some friends in Kiev, Ukraine, whose lives were in danger.
“It was a pretty intense 24 hours,” he said.
With the current challenges facing Poland, Maciek said his children asked the toughest question of all: Are we safe?
“My kids are very young and they have some friends that came over from Ukraine after the invasion. And those kids have experienced all of what we see on the news,” he said. “My children asked me, ‘What's going on? Is it going to happen here as well?’ It was a tough, tough time to explain to them we're safe here and the situation is different. IBCS will ensure that we have the tools necessary to defend our country for years to come.”
As operations manager, Maciek oversees the collaboration between a multinational team of technicians, mechanics and logistical support personnel, all of whom work on IBCS. Having been part of Northrop Grumman for four years, his work can vary from handling housing and transportation needs to working with field technicians.
“IBCS is a tremendously advanced system, operated by trained soldiers and maintenance personnel, and it takes a lot of work on the business side to enable that kind of support here,” he said, noting Poland is the first international customer of IBCS.
Within the past two years, our team in Poland has expanded from 7 to 70 employees, all committed to the success of the IBCS program.
“You can really see the passion from those who are joining the team or supporting various activities that enable IBCS to be in Poland and functioning successfully,” Maciek explained. “IBCS gives the ability to integrate local sensors, local shooters and operation of the whole system to the Polish armed forces. I think this is what truly brings the safety and security feature to the landscape in Poland.”
He said IBCS is the beginning of a new chapter in Poland’s history — one that will allow the country to better defend itself.
“I take great comfort in being able to comfortably tell my wife, my children and my colleagues that we will have this great system here and we are safe,” Maciek said.
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