Talks are progressing between the US and Polish governments over the building of a permanent US military base in Poland, to which the Polish side has offered to contribute $2bn.
Last week, John Rood, an undersecretary at the US Department of Defence, met Polish officials and presented a firm offer for the base, which would provide a home for a US division, about 15,000 troops.
Katie Wheelbarger, Rood’s deputy for international affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday: "We have come forward with what we think is a very serious robust offer and we’re working out some of the technicalities this very week, when we hope to have a solid foundation to work from having coming out of this meeting."
If satisfactory progress is made, Wheelbarger said the US side expected to finalise a deal within a year. The details of Rood’s offer were not released.
The idea of a base has been under discussion since the end of the Cold War, but has gained momentum in the past year.
Washington’s last defence authorisation bill instructed the Pentagon to provide feasibility study for a base, and in September, Polish president Andrzej Duda met President Trump and told him he planned to call the facility "Fort Trump".
In May 2018, a Polish government document showed that the country was offering up to $2bn toward the base’s construction costs. It said: "This proposal outlines the clear and present need for a permanent US armoured division deployed in Poland.
Poland’s commitment to provide significant support that may reach $1.5-2bn by establishing joint military installations."
In January of this year, a Brussels-based thinktank called Friends of Europe, argued that Poland should base its defence polity on collective European security rather than a bilateral relationship with the US.
Paul Taylor, the author of the report, told US website Defence News: "It’s time to get real. The US is not pulling any of its troops out of foreign entanglements in Afghanistan or Syria so that it can put them in a big, fat ‘Fort Trump’ in eastern Poland.
"At the very latest when President Donald Trump tweeted, ‘It’s time to bring our boys home’, the light bulb should have gone on in Warsaw."
Image: The biggest US base is Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which has a population of 50,000 active duty personnel (Jonas N. Jordan/Public Domain)
- Edited 19 March to correct the photograph.