The Polish Ministry of National Defense is seeking a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland. According to Politico, a defense ministry proposal was obtained by a Polish news portal, offering $2 billion for a permanent military base.
The offer may be reflective of a recent meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak on April 28th.
Defense News reported that Defense Minister Blaszczak said he was “an optimist regarding an increase of U.S. military presence in Poland.”
The US Department of Defense appeared to hold similar optimism regarding the talks. In a press release by the DOD, Secretary Mattis applauded Poland’s commitment to reach a defense spending level of 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product by 2030 as part of a NATO pledge, saying that “These contributions, along with your hosting of NATO’s 2016 summit in Warsaw, illustrate Poland’s deep commitment to collective security, a commitment that includes the purchase of a Patriot air and missile defense system last month.”
“This proposal outlines the clear and present need for a permanent U.S. armored division deployed in Poland, Poland’s commitment to provide significant support that may reach 1.5 – 2 billion USD by establishing joint military installations and provide for more flexible movement of U.S. forces. Together, the United States and Poland can build an even stronger bond one which guarantees the safety, security, and freedom of its people for generations to come,” the defense ministry document stated.
The document takes a further step to entice the US into an agreement of the terms, stating:
“To share the burden of defense spending, make the decision more cost-effective for the U.S. Government and allay any concerns for Congress in uncertain budgetary times.”
Politico reported that the Polish Defense ministry press office confirmed the “Proposal for a U.S. Permanent Presence in Poland” is legitimate and genuine. The defense ministry also confirmed the proposal was sent to Washington without the consent or knowledge of President Andrzej Duda, Poland’s commander in chief.
The report directly names Russia as a reason for the US military base proposal. Poland is likely responding to continued Russian aggression and influence in Ukraine’s Crimea region and Georgia that occurred in 2014.
Russia has opposed initiatives for US military expansion into Eastern Europe. However, Poland seems to be attempting to invite further US influence in their region regardless, in defense of Russian aggression.
“Poland is a steadfast ally of the United States and is committed to advancing our shared interests and values, which are increasingly being threatened by Russian interference. A permanent U.S. presence in Poland will ensure that both nations can continue to advance, strengthen, and protect these values and interests,” the report stated.