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The U.S. and Polish militaries have signed an agreement that is intended to bolster Poland’s special forces and enhance how it operates within the NATO military command structure.

The deal was signed Thursday by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Polish counterpart, Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, according to a press release from the American Forces Press Service, part of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The document, signed in Krakow, Poland, is the only official memorandum of understanding the U.S. Special Operations Command has. The command, however, has partnerships with its counterparts from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Jordan.

"We are pretty proactive with Poland and we have been for many years," said Army Maj. Jim Gregory, a command spokesman. "Poland has been active in supporting multinational operations with us."

An example of that proactive approach is a commitment by the Special Operations commander, Adm. Eric Olson, to helping the Poles develop a self-sufficient headquarters for their special operations command, Gregory said.

This agreement will also lead to training that will teach the Poles how to lead special operations forces made up of troops from multiple NATO countries, he added.

In addition, according to the release, the pact will: help increase the size of the Poles’ special operation forces from 1,500 to 3,500 by 2012; help it create a senior staff headquarters; and improve its English-speaking capabilities. Helping the Poles improve their language capabilities is essential because English and French are the primary NATO languages, Gregory said.

The agreement puts a U.S. adviser in the Polish special operations command to help coordinate training and answer any questions the Poles may have, Gregory said. That person is Army Col. Bogdan Gieniewski, who speaks Polish.


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