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Army chief: Poland doesn’t have space for ‘Fort Trump’

Army chief: Poland doesn’t have space for ‘Fort Trump’
© Greg Nash

The space proposed by Poland's government for a U.S. military base in the country may not be enough to allow U.S. forces to construct a permanent facility that Poland's president offered to name "Fort Trump."

U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday that the space and terrain proposed by Poland's President Andrzej Duda did not offer enough room for facilities meant to train U.S. troops.

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"It was not sufficient in terms of size and what we could do in the maneuver space and certainly on the ranges," Esper said, according to AFP. "You need a lot of range space to do tank gunnery, for example."

The terrain, he added, is "maybe not robust enough to really allow us to maintain the level of readiness we would like to maintain."

His concerns were reportedly echoed by Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump attends Army-Navy game Overnight Defense: Senate Armed Services chair eyes Russia, China threats | Pushes Trump not to cut defense budget | Mattis says US looking for more Khashoggi evidence Mattis: Investigation into killing of Khashoggi is ongoing MORE on Tuesday in his own comments to reporters, when he said that a "host of details" needed to be studied before a final decision on Poland's offer to supply the U.S. with room for a base was accepted or rejected.

"It's not just about a base," Mattis told reporters, according to Reuters. "It's about training ranges, it's about maintenance facilities at the base, all these kinds of things."

Duda said during a press conference with Trump on Tuesday that he would like "very much" for Trump to accept his country's $2 billion offer for a permanent U.S. military base in the country to bolster its defenses against potential Russian threats, adding that the base could be named after Trump.

“I said that I would very much [like] for us to set up permanent American bases in Poland, which we would call Fort Trump,” Duda said through a translator.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday that he was seriously considering Duda's offer, and criticized Russia for acting "aggressively."

“We’re looking at it very seriously,” Trump said ahead of the meeting. “I know Poland likes the idea very much. And it’s something that we are considering, yes.”

“I think it’s a very aggressive situation. I think Russia has acted aggressively,” he added. “I am with the president. I feel that he is right, and I feel that, look, you look at the history of Poland and Russia, that’s a long and very complicated history, so [he] certainly has a right to feel that way.”