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US pitches ‘Fort Trump’ offer to Poland

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John C. Rood, and Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, testify before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. March 7, 2018. (EJ Hersom/Department of Defense)
March 15, 2019

A top U.S. official pitched a tentative offer to Polish officials this week for a U.S. base, and “Fort Trump” could soon be a reality in Poland.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Undersecretary for Policy John Rood held a meeting in Poland with defense officials to discuss the project, during which he presented an offer, and if accepted, could prompt an official agreement for the base, Defense One reported 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,” Katie Wheelbarger, Rood’s deputy for international affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Wheelbarger said that if Rood’s offer is accepted, the U.S. State Department would head official negotiations to produce an “actual technical agreement” with an expected “six months to a year” to be finalized.

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The details of Rood’s offer were not released.

The last defense authorization bill instructed the Pentagon to provide a report on the feasibility of a U.S. base in Poland, a prospect that has been proposed for decades.

In September, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda met with President Trump and reiterated his calls for a U.S. base. There, he revealed their proposed name for the base – to President Trump’s surprise – which was “Fort Trump.”

“I would very much like for us to set up a permanent American base in Poland, which we would call Fort Trump,” Duda said at a press conference after the meeting.

In May 2018, a Poland government document showed that the country was offering up to $2 billion toward the construction of the U.S. base.

“This proposal outlines the clear and present need for a permanent U.S. armored division deployed in Poland, Poland’s commitment to provide significant support that may reach $1.5-2 billion by establishing joint military installations, and provide for more flexible movement of U.S. forces,” according to the defense ministry document.

The defense ministry said it welcomed the U.S.’s support, and said it it was more than willing “to share the burden of defense spending, make the decision more cost-effective for the U.S. government and allay any concerns for Congress in uncertain budgetary times.”

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An average of 4,500 U.S. troops are in Poland each year. Some are based in a rotational unit near the German border, while others are in a U.S.-led coalition near the Suwalki gap, the only bridge connecting Poland with Baltic nations.