The United States is building a large new military headquarters base in Poland to house the U.S. Army’s V Corps as part of a massive and multifaceted buildup of European forces announced by President Biden.
“In Poland, we will establish a permanent US 5th Corps headquarters and strengthen NATO interoperability across the entire eastern flank,” President Biden said, according to a statement. Pentagon report on the NATO summit in Madrid.
The forward headquarters will include a command post, a garrison and a field support battalion. Units will also manage and oversee large forward-positioned stocks of weapons, platforms, supplies and ammunition. Headquarters will have a regular and consistent rotation of forces. It appears that this move may allow for a long-term increase in force rotations through Poland after the initial build-up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new rotational force will include a large armored brigade combat team, a combat aviation brigade and a divisional headquarters. The comprehensive approach is clearly aimed at strengthening the NATO alliance along its eastern flank.
The additional American forces in Poland add great importance to the growing alliance between the United States and Poland. Not only is Poland now a customer of F-35 stealth fighters, but the country also buys a large amount of American-made Abrams tanks. This massively contributes to interoperability between US and Polish forces and puts stealth aircraft and heavy armor within striking distance of Russia.
Part of this Pentagon initiative will include sending rotating support units to Romania and what the Pentagon report calls “enhanced” deployments to the Baltics. Missions in the Baltics will include “armour, air, air defense and special operations forces”, according to the Pentagon report. The new units will support the 20,000 “additional” troops already sent to Eastern Europe in response to Russian aggression.
Deterring Russia has been a priority for the Pentagon for many years, which has gained popularity within NATO given how the Russian invasion has changed the security situation in Europe. From 2016, a RAND study raised fears that a large conventional Russian force could quickly take control of the Baltic states, given the size of their armored divisions, tanks and infantry. The study, which based its findings on a series of elaborate war games, recommended deploying additional forward US Army forces. Of course, this study followed the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the attacks in Ukraine. However, after Russia invaded Ukraine, the international will to deter Russia grew.
Kris Osborn is defense editor for national interest. He previously served at the Pentagon as a highly trained expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn has also served as an on-air military anchor and analyst for national television networks.