Trump to announce US troop increase in Poland


President Trump on Wednesday plans to announce an increased U.S. troop presence in Poland, administration officials indicated.

The “significant announcement,” to be made during a meeting between Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House, will be about the “new facet of our military-to-military relationship” between Washington and Warsaw, officials told reporters during a Tuesday background briefing. 

“This meeting . . . is a great opportunity for us to highlight our deepening military-to-military relationship and our mutual commitment to NATO and its priorities,” one official said.

Defense One reported later Tuesday that the Pentagon will deploy another 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland, with the additional forces to have logistical duties.

The officials would not give details of any troop commitment – including whether the administration plans to have U.S. troops permanently stationed in Poland – or say whether the announcement will include a new U.S. military base in the European nation.

Asked whether Trump will visit Poland later this year as part of a new commitment, the officials declined to answer.

They said Trump and Duda will address questions at a joint news conference at the White House.

U.S. troops have had a rotational presence in Poland since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Poland’s eastern neighbor, Ukraine.

Currently, 4,000 U.S troops rotate through Poland, but Warsaw’s leaders want a stronger presence against an increasingly aggressive Russia. Polish officials have asked Washington for a permanent Army brigade and a headquarters to be stationed within the nation, offering to pay $2 billion for such a base.

Duda had joked that the U.S. military installation would be referred to as “Fort Trump.”

Though a new base in uncertain, Poland has all but confirmed that the NATO ally will be hosting more U.S. forces. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak last month told Polish reporters that “there will be an increase in the presence of U.S. troops in Poland.”

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who met with Blaszczak at the Pentagon on Tuesday, said the Defense Department is “not announcing any troop movements today.”

Asked whether there will be a permanent U.S. military base in Poland, Shanahan replied:“Why don’t we let President Trump make any announcement like that?”

Trump has a warm relationship with Poland, often praising it for being one of the handful of NATO countries that has reached or surpassed the 2 percent spending goal agreed to by NATO member nations in 2014.

“Poland is a particularly important part of this as they have stated their willingness to shoulder a greater share of the burden for their own security, and for the security of the region,” one administration official said.

Poland has also sent an official letter of request to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, administration officials confirmed.

They added that the State Department, which must approve all foreign military sales, is currently working the request. 

Tags Donald Trump Patrick Shanahan

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