Rising NATO superstar Poland to host more American troops, buy US F-35s

When President Trump meets Poland’s President Andrzej Duda at the White House Wednesday, the president will have what one senior administration official called “a significant announcement” on a “new facet in the military-to-military relationship” between the two NATO allies. In Duda’s last visit to Washington in September he offered to name a base in Poland “Fort Trump” if the United States was willing to station more troops there. Officials who spoke to reporters in advance of the announcement declined to provide details, saying they didn’t want to “steal the president's thunder,” but Poland has already indicated it will be hosting more U.S. troops, at least on a rotational basis. “There will be an increase in the presence of U.S. troops in Poland,” Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told Polish media last month. Blaszczak met with acting Defense

Secretary Patrick Shanahan at the Pentagon Tuesday, but in a brief exchange with reporters, Shanahan would not say how many troops would be going to Poland. “We’re not announcing any troop movements today. We’re going to have a great meeting with our Polish counterparts,” Shanahan said, while praising Poland’s willingness to meet its defense commitments. “When you think about contributions in terms of NATO and burden-sharing, they’re the model,” Shanahan said. Asked if there would be a Fort Trump in Poland, Shanahan responded, “Well, that’s a great question. Why don’t we let President Trump make any announcement like that?” Poland is one of the few NATO countries that has exceeded the 2% spending goal agreed to by NATO member nations in 2014, and has provided troops to serve alongside the U.S. in both Iraq and Afghanistan. “Poland is a particularly important part of this as they have indicated their willingness to shoulder a greater share of the burden for their own security, and for the security of the region," one the of the official briefing reporters said. “Their defense spending is over the 2% NATO goal, and they have been key partner in encouraging other allies to do so.” Officials confirmed that Poland has also requested permission to by the advanced U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to replace its aging Soviet-era jets. Blaszczak visited Eglin Air Force Base, Florida earlier this week to inspect the planes firsthand. “The exchange of post-Soviet machines will increase Poland's defence capabilities and ensure the safety of our pilots,” he said according to the tweet from Poland’s Defense Ministry. Officials confirmed the U.S. has received an official letter of request from Poland to purchase the F-35 from Lockheed Martin, and it is currently being considered by the State Department, which must approve all foreign military sales. source: washingtonexaminer

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