The Pentagon said the U.S. and Poland have completed negotiations on an expanded defense cooperation agreement that will result in 1,000 additional U.S. personnel being sent to the Eastern European country on a rotational basis.
The increased presence will include forward elements of the U.S. Army’s V Corps headquarters and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement on Monday. It will also have the infrastructure to support an armored brigade combat team and a combat aviation brigade in addition to the 4,500 personnel already on rotation in Poland, according to Esper.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will bolster “deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure our allies, and our forward presence in Poland on NATO’s eastern flank will improve our strategic and operational flexibility,” Esper said in the statement.
The decision came days after the U.S. announced plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany. Esper said Wednesday that about 5,600 troops would be redeployed to other nations in Europe, including Italy and Belgium, while 6,400 would return to the U.S.
President Donald Trump has long said Germany and other partners in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should quickly ramp up efforts to meet the alliance’s goal that all members spend at least 2% of gross domestic product on defense.
In June, Polish President Andrzej Duda visited the White House, where he warned against reducing U.S. troops in Europe, and Trump said he’d probably be moving them from Germany to Poland. Trump has seen the nationalist Polish leader as a kindred spirit.