By Hollie McKay
Published June 11, 2019
The U.S. is expected to add at least 1,000 troops to the 4,000 already stationed in Poland, a sign of strengthening ties between President Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda at a time when many other nations in the E.U. are drifting away.
“We are looking for a quantity and quality increase in military presence, an enduring presence of American troops in Poland,” Maciej Golubiewski, the consul general of the Republic of Poland in New York, told Fox News on Tuesday.
Discussions of an augmented and fixed U.S. presence have taken place under the nickname “Fort Trump,” and Polish officials haven't ruled out the possibility of some future base taking on that very name, depending on how the new agreement is structured.
“It could be dispersed, or more concentrated in different geographic positions,” Golubiewski said. “Details are worked out by the two teams, and discussions have been sped up over the past four months.”
A formal announcement of the boosted noncombat deployment is expected in Washington on Wednesday, when Duda stands alongside his American counterpart for the second time in nine months.
But what is most important to Warsaw, Golubiewski asserted, is that the military relationship is fortified in perpetuity, as opposed to the existing “rotational” deployment system.
For months, Warsaw has been advocating for a permanent presence to serve as a counterweight to Russian domination at its border. Despite having been a NATO partner since 1999, Poland has not had the kind of fixed habitation of NATO troops that its Western neighbors -- Germany and Italy, for instance -- have enjoyed. And Poland has expressed continued concern over Russian interference and its vulnerability and proximity.
Beyond the buildup of ground troops, officials are endeavoring to shore up their defense relationship through equipment purchases. Golubiewski noted that the “groundbreaking” trip will also entail further talks with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and National Security Adviser John Bolton concerning Poland’s desire to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets and additional U.S.-made defense equipment -- $48 billion worth over the next seven years.
“Poland will be the regional hub of security, the Eastern flank needs strengthening and Poland is a crucial part of that,” he said. “Poland needs to have proper military deterrence and posture.”
Golubiewski also pointed out that his homeland has in recent years proved to be one of the few NATO states to have adhered to spending a minimum of 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense commitments, an issue that has featured prominently in Trump’s policy since his 2016 campaign.
Following Washington, Duda is slated to visit Texas, Nevada and California to further discuss defense, energy, trade, security and technology advancement issues.
“The Polish president has developed an intense relationship with Trump; there is a mutual appreciation of values between the countries,” Golubiewski added.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.