Ever since Russia invaded Georgia a decade ago, the world has known the Kremlin will use its military to expand its influence. Russia’s actions, including the continuing incursions in Ukraine, are seen as a long-term strategy to challenge stability and peace in Europe and the cohesion of the NATO alliance.
Such a multidimensional threat requires a measured, comprehensive response - Mariusz Błaszczak, the head of the Defense Ministry, wrote in The Washington Times.
The minister stressed that one of the first steps should be the acceptance by the United States of the invitation to deploy American soldiers in Poland and to build a joint military base.
Permanently stationing U.S. troops in Poland would be an effective deterrence against Russian incursion and would provide a vital strategic anchor for U.S. engagement in Europe’s currently volatile security environment. Permanent U.S. engagement, including an increase in assets on Polish territory, would be a game changer in European security and trans-Atlantic relations - the Minister emphasized.
The head of the Ministry of Defense reminded that Poland is ready to prepare and significantly participate in the costs of maintaining the base, which could accommodate the armored division.
A joint base would be a natural extension of the already strong military ties between our countries. The two have fought alongside each other for centuries, dating back to Polish-American heroes, Gen. Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Gen. Casimir Pulaski, who led American troops during the Revolutionary War.
Nowadays, the United States has sent armored brigades to Poland on a rotating, nine-month basis, and Polish forces have been deployed in support of the U.S.-led counter-ISIL mission and the NATO-led effort in Afghanistan - Minister Blaszczak wrote.
Poland has also proven itself a valued ally to the United States and NATO in terms of defense spending. Poland spends the recommended 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense and more than 20 percent of the defense budget on military equipment, which is a NATO-defined benchmark met by only a few allies.
Furthermore, Poland adopted a law calling for steady growth of its defense expenditure’s share of the GDP, up to 2.5 percent in coming years. It has also established with the United States a defense and industrial partnership to upgrade Poland’s defense systems such as the F-16 aircraft and JASSM-ER missiles. The most recent example is the contract for the purchase of the first phase of the Patriot system from U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, a deal worth $4.75 billion.
The stronger the U.S. military presence becomes in Poland, the stronger the Polish contribution to NATO’s operational efforts on its eastern flank and beyond could become. To this end, a U.S. base in Poland will strengthen regional security and would effectively accomplish the common strategic objectives of Poland, the United States and NATO - emphasized the head of the Defense Ministry.