Poland President Andrzej Duda said March 30 the nation is looking to cooperate further with the United States to get additional military equipment and boost its defense system.
During a presentation at the National Press Club in Washington, Duda said he appreciated the U.S. announcement of it increasing military equipment in central and eastern Europe. Much of Duda’s presentation discussed how NATO should respond to Russian aggression in the east. Duda said Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was the first time since World War II that European borders moved due to force.
Duda, via a translator, said he wants a pre-positioned defense infrastructure used by the U.S. and Allies. He said he wants the construction of missile defense systems so NATO troops can move more safely in the region. Duda said Russia’s missile deployment is so large it renders NATO troop movement ineffective.
Duda said it is important to increase both NATO and U.S. presence in Eastern Europe and that most neighbor countries are expecting this. Stimson Center think tank Distinguished Fellow Barry Blechman said March 30 the U.S. is planning a major increase in ground presence in eastern Europe. The U.S., he said, plans on moving in equipment for essentially three heavy brigades and rotate troops for them one brigade at a time. Blechman said the troop rotation would be “heel-to-toe,” meaning there will be overlap among them, so there will always be one more U.S. heavy brigade somewhere in eastern Europe.
Duda called on NATO not to divide its security into south, east or north as there is only one Alliance and equal security for all members is a must. Blechman said there was concern that there was less of a NATO commitment to the newer members that used to be either part of the Soviet Union or occupied by it including Poland, Hungary or the Baltic states.
Blechman said Duda is absolutely right and that it is essential that all NATO member governments, their leaders and NATO itself reiterate constantly that there is only one Alliance and all for one and one for all, so that Russia doesn’t get any ideas that it could pick off pieces and the U.S. wouldn’t respond if Russia, for example, invaded Estonia.
The U.S. wants to deploy a second Aegis Ashore missile defense site in Poland. Raytheon [RTN] believes Poland is interested in acquiring its Patriot air defense system.
Warsaw is hosting a NATO summit in early July.