The United States and Poland agreed that Russia's aggression has renewed the resolve to strengthen the NATO Alliance.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak recently met at the Pentagon to discuss the future of the U.S-Polish defense relationship -- a relationship that is particularly critical at this time in light of the crisis in Ukraine.
The United States and Poland agreed that Russia's aggression has renewed the resolve to strengthen the NATO Alliance. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced a series of measures to demonstrate this resolve and reassure Allies. They include more air policing sorties over the Baltics, more allied ships in the Baltic and in the eastern Mediterranean seas, as well as military staff deployments to enhance NATO's readiness training and exercises. NATO is also updating its defense plans. The United States is assessing what additional contributions it can make to reassure its Allies in central and eastern Europe.
Article Five of the NATO Charter makes clear that an attack against any one NATO ally will be considered an attack against all members of NATO. Secretary Hagel said, "The United States is fully committed to meeting its Article Five responsibilities. This is a critical time for the NATO Alliance, and for the Polish-U.S. bilateral relationship." Hagel also noted, "It is. . .time to capitalize on the strong relationship that our two countries have built together over the last 25 years."
Poland and the United States will work together on special operations forces training, air force cooperation, and additional exercises and training. In recent weeks, the United States has significantly augmented the aviation detachment with 12 F-16s and 200 support personnel from Aviano Air Base in Italy. The U.S. is committed to maintaining that augmented presence through the end of the year.
"This is a clear demonstration of America's bilateral commitment to Poland," said Secretary Hagel, "and to our other NATO allies in the region.” The United States is also encouraging other NATO allies to contribute to the detachment and other reassurance measures in the region.
As Poland continues to invest in defense and military modernization, the United States will increasingly look to Poland as a leader in the region and in NATO. The Polish-U.S. relationship and our shared commitment to NATO remain a critical anchor of stability in Europe. Recent events underscore that our Alliance with Poland and shared commitments to the NATO Alliance are as important as ever.