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Pentagon to send 1,000 additional troops to Poland, including an MQ-9 Reaper squadron

13 June 2019
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The Pentagon is preparing to send US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper squadron to Poland to collect intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information. Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

As part of Washington’s plan to beef up troop numbers inside Poland and establish a forward division headquarters there to deter potential Russian military actions, it will also be stationing a US Air Force (USAF) MQ-9 Reaper squadron in the nation.

At a White House press conference on 12 June, US President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda announced plans to grow the US military footprint inside Poland under a new ‘Joint Declaration on Defense Cooperation’ agreement. Under the plan, the US will send an additional 1,000 troops to Poland, boosting rotational troop numbers to approximately 5,500, in order to “focus on providing additional defense and deterrence capabilities in Poland”, according to the document.

“The United States and Poland believe that the presence of United States military personnel in Poland strengthens NATO’s deterrence efforts, and the defense of the United States, Poland, and the Alliance,” the document reads.

Although the Pentagon has not provided additional details about the timing of the move or where the troops will come from, Trump said they would be pulled from Germany or “another location”, a move that is consistent with the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, under which NATO promised not to permanently base substantial combat forces in new alliance members’ territory.

“We have 52,000 troops in Germany, and Germany is not living up to what they’re supposed to be doing with respect to NATO, and Poland is,” Trump later said.

The Pentagon is also planning to establish a division headquarters (forward) in the nation, as well as an aerial port of debarkation to move forces throughout the region. Plans also call for sending US special forces into Poland and building the infrastructure to support an armoured brigade combat team, a combat aviation brigade, and a combat sustainment support battalion.

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