US Army’s new weapons depot in Poland is largest NATO facility buy in decades
Stars and Stripes April 6, 2023
A sprawling U.S. Army weapons depot in central Poland opened this week, giving NATO allies a readily accessible site with thousands of pieces of armor and other equipment that can be mobilized in a crisis.
In Powidz, a logistics hub that has become central to U.S. military efforts on the alliance’s eastern flank, a project six years in the making came to fruition Wednesday as top U.S. and Polish officials lauded the strategic impact of the site.
“There will be seven gigantic warehouses stationed here on Polish soil full of heavy equipment, over 2,700 pieces from tanks to Bradley (Fighting) Vehicles, all of it belonging to the U.S. armored brigade combat team,” Mark Brzezinski, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, said during an opening ceremony.
The facility will enable U.S. forces to dispatch an entire armored brigade faster, cutting down deployment timelines with the pre-positioned weaponry, he said.
The $360 million facility, which was funded by NATO, is the largest single infrastructure investment for the alliance in 30 years, the Army said.
The opening of the weapons depot follows the recent establishment of the first permanent U.S. garrison in Poland in the west-central city of Poznan, which serves as a forward headquarters for the Army’s V Corps.
In recent years, Washington and Warsaw have invested heavily in a network of sites used by American forces in Poland. The developments have made Poland the centerpiece of the U.S. military’s efforts to deter Russian aggression along NATO’s eastern flank.
Following Russia’s initial military intervention in Ukraine in 2014, the Army began rebuilding its mission in Europe after years of cutbacks.
A key part of that effort has been getting a wide range of weaponry into pre-positioned locations, which troops can access as needed, whether for training or crisis response.
While the number of permanently stationed soldiers in Europe has increased slightly in recent years, the Army relies heavily on forces rotating in and out of the Continent to carry out its mission. Having gear in a network of depots streamlines those efforts.
The Powidz site, formally known as the Long-Term Equipment Storage and Maintenance Complex, cements the town as a key logistics node for the Army.
“This base is important because thanks to this, we increase our deterrence capabilities and we also show solidarity within NATO,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said at the ceremony.
Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, deputy commander of the Stuttgart, Germany-based U.S. European Command, added that Poland serves as “a linchpin of regional security” in the region.
And the “proof is right before our eyes” with the establishment of the weapons site, he added.