Increased US military presence to affect all of Europe - defence chief

2019-06-18 17:24 update: 2019-06-20, 15:25
Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
The increased American military presence in Poland will cause increased engagement of the United States, not only in the security of Poland and the region, but in the whole of Europe, the head of the National Security Bureau (BBN), Pawel Soloch, has said.

Referring on a private television channel on Tuesday to the cost of the declaration on defence cooperation signed last week by the presidents of Poland and the USA, Soloch said that, "a new armoured division, which Poland would like to build from scratch, would cost tens of millions of zlotys."

"At the moment we have an American armoured brigade, which accounts for a third to a half of the value of our division. We should have equipment for a second American brigade, so if we want to count the money, at the moment the Americans are contributing much, much more in security than they're gaining in output," the defence chief commented. 

Soloch underscored that he is not currently in a position to give concrete figures. "When it comes to the infrastructure for the presence of 1,000 soldiers, it is infrastructure that will remain in Poland," he explained. "We're talking about an airport - an airport is necessary one way or the other. We're talking about the modernisation of training ranges, which Polish troops will also train on." As he noted, "when it comes to the details, those details at the moment are secured at the level of the Ministry of Defence."

The discussion also touched on the planned purchase of F-35 fighter jets and Soloch was asked whether the declaration signed last week on the matter was final. "A letter of intent was signed in the matter, in other words a sort of opening of negotiations, where we express readiness to buy those planes and we expect that that will happen," the BBN chief explained. 

Asked if there would be a tender, Soloch replied that there would be negotiations. "There will not be a tender, because there is only one supplier. No country possesses planes of that generation, as a result of which there is no competition for the proposition of the F-35. Now the financial details will be agreed upon, negotiated in the course of talks between the Ministry of Defence and the Pentagon," he remarked. 

On the subject of offset, Soloch said: "That is a subject that will certainly come up during the negotiations." 

"We must take into account the capacity of our industry," he observed. "It will all be established in detail and worked out by our ministry."

The BBN chief also pointed out that Poland is "an important hub for the USA in this part of Europe," and highlighted that Poland will be the fourth country in Europe in terms of the presence of US forces. (PAP)