US and Poland work to finalize defense deal ahead of Duda visit

U.S. and Polish officials are working to finalize a defense cooperation agreement ahead of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to the White House on Wednesday, as questions swirl about a potential deployment of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Polish soil.

Officials are focused on finalizing the legal details of the defense agreement President Donald Trump and Duda announced last year, a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday. Since then, the two countries inaugurated a new divisional headquarters in Poland, headed by a U.S. general, and have made progress establishing a combat training center there, the official said.

When the final agreement is signed, the U.S. Air Force plans to rotate an MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance drone squadron into Poland and establish an aerial port there, the official said.

In addition, the countries have agreed on a location for a U.S. armored brigade combat team and are in discussions about additional support infrastructure as well as a combat aviation brigade, the official said, declining to give details on the specific location.

The officials did not mention plans for naming a military base in honor of the U.S. president, what Duda once called “Fort Trump.” Reuters reported last week that plans for Fort Trump had stalled amid funding and infrastructure disputes, but U.S. officials pushed back on that claim.

A second senior defense official praised Poland for meeting the goal of spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense, a guideline set by NATO and a threshold sought by Trump.

This “shows that Poland is taking its responsibility as a member of the NATO alliance” seriously, the second official said. “Poland has just been a model defense partner.”

The officials declined to answer questions about whether Trump plans to move any of the 9,500 U.S. troops from Germany to Poland. The second official pointed to vague comments by national security adviser Robert O’Brien in a Monday op-ed that the troops may redeploy to other countries in Europe, but they also may head to the Indo-Pacific, or return to the U.S.

Pic Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Andrzej_Duda_i_Donald_Trump_na_Zamku_Kr%C3%B3lewskim_w_Warszawie.jpg

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