US, Poland Finish Negotiations on Troop Increase, Drones

The U.S. and Polish militaries have agreed on a long-negotiated plan to increase the American presence in Poland, including adding a cargo hub and drones flown by the U.S. Air Force.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which the parties have not yet signed, follows last year’s pact between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda to add 1,000 American personnel in Poland. About 4,500 people, mostly Army personnel, are already assigned there.

The announcement came days after the Pentagon and U.S. European Command revealed some details of a plan to draw down the American presence in Germany, shrinking the number of U.S. troops stationed in Europe overall.

“Alongside the recently announced European strategic force posture changes, the EDCA will enhance 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,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in an Aug. 3 statement.

During a joint appearance with Duda at the White House in June, Trump said Poland asked the U.S. whether it would send additional troops and indicated the Polish would cover the cost.

According to the Polish Ministry of Defense, the agreement provides for:

  • A squadron of Air Force remotely piloted aircraft, likely MQ-9 Reapers, at Łask Air Base. This squadron is in addition to the contractor-owned, contractor-operated Reapers at Miroslawic Air Base.
  • A USAF “loading and unloading air base” at the Wrocław-Strachowice airport.
  • An Army forward division command at Poznań.
  • A joint combat training center at Drawsko Pomorskie.
  • A combat aviation brigade headquarters, combat logistics support battalion, and special-operations forces facility at Powidz.
  • Another special-operations forces facility at Lubliniec.
  •  An armored brigade combat team headquarters at Żagań / Świętoszów.

“Strengthening the presence of U.S. troops in Poland concerns not only combat units, but also the development of specific capabilities in the field of reconnaissance, command, or the adoption of additional forces in the event of an emergency,” the Polish MOD said in a statement. “This introduces a new quality of U.S. military presence both in Poland and in the entire region.”

The countries have not announced when the changes will happen.