WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said U.S. forces are bound for Poland after negotiations with Warsaw have been successfully concluded and that a new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will provide “the required legal framework, infrastructure and equitable burden-sharing essential to deepening our defense cooperation.”
Under the agreement, which has yet to be foamily signed, Poland will pay for the costs of maintaining 5,500 U.S troops that will rotate through that nation and various operations headquarters and facilities, as well as pay for infrastructure development associated with the increased troop deployments.
On Monday Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the agreement, is an “important milestone for US-Polish relations and our collective transatlantic security.”
That includes a command post of the Army’s V Corps headquarters; a U.S. division headquarters in Poland; a joint-use Combat Training Center and other training locations; facilities for an Air Force MQ-9 drone squadron; an aerial port of debarkation; facilities to support special operations forces, and infrastructure for an armored brigade combat team, a combat aviation brigade, and a combat sustainment support battalion.
Polish officials have said they see the U.S. troops at several sites, including Poznan, Powidz, Lubliniec and Zagan.
Recent history raises questions, however, about how well Poland can manage handling the ground and support work needed for the U.S. deployment.
For example, Europe’s second Aegis Ashore missile defense system site based in Redzikowo, Poland, was supposed to be up and running in 2018. The system is to protect against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Issues with local contractors delayed that until at least 2022 and will cost the Pentagon an additional $96 million in 2021, according to budget documents. The Missile Defense Agency stopped paying the contractor in the spring because of the delay.
The U.S. is withdrawing troops from Germany over President Trump’s ire with the German government. He had been wooed by Polish officials to put more U.S. troops in that former Warsaw Pact nation. Some of the troops leaving Germany will be part of the rotation into Poland; others will go to Belgium, Italy and locations yet to be determined in the United States.
— by Tom Squitieri