US troops could soon be heading to Poland under new agreement
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 31, 2020
STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. and Poland have agreed to a defense deal that will lead to more American troops deployed in the central European nation, a top U.S. diplomat said Friday.
The two countries have completed negotiations on a new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which “will implement the joint vision of our two presidents to enhance the U.S. military presence in Poland,” Washington’s ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher wrote in a Twitter post.
Washington and Warsaw have been involved in lengthy talks over the plan to add U.S. troops and one of the key decisions was how much Poland would spend.
President Donald Trump has insisted that Warsaw pick up the bulk of the tab, but it wasn’t clear Friday how the financial burden would be shared.
The agreement came two days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced plans to reduce forces in Germany and said the U.S. is ready to take action in Poland “once Warsaw signs a defense cooperation agreement and burden-sharing deal, as previously pledged.”
The concept agreed to last year by Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda calls for adding 1,000 troops in the country. The U.S. already has several thousand troops in Poland on a rotational basis, including a tank brigade. Forces live in austere conditions but there have been discussions about upgrading facilities.
In June, Trump said some of the troops withdrawn from Germany could be sent to Poland.
The new initiative is expected to involve a range of rotational units and will build upon a mission that has steadily grown over the last five years. Its focus will be on areas such as a larger special operations presence, setting up a drone squadron and logistics.
Esper said Wednesday the Army has decided that the newly established V Corps headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky., will send a forward unit of about 200 soldiers to Poland to help U.S. Army Europe coordinate how forces maneuver around the Continent.
Soldiers with the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group eat their lunch at the dining facility on Bemowo Piskie Training Area in Orzysz, Poland. Washington and Warsaw have reached an agreement that paves the way for the U.S. to send more troops to the central European nation, the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, said July 31, 2020.
IMMANUEL JOHNSON/STARS AND STRIPES