Poland has been a strong NATO Ally since its accession to the Alliance in 1999 and is a linchpin of Eastern Flank security. Poland is committed to burden sharing and meets its Wales commitments to spend two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense and invest 20 percent of its defense budget in major equipment. In March 2022, the Polish government passed new legislation that mandates Poland spend three percent of GDP on defense beginning in 2023 and proposed doubling the size of Polish Armed Forces by 2030.
Poland is a crucial strategic ally in Central Europe and cooperates with the United States in international fora to promote stability and security in the region and beyond. Along the eastern flank of NATO, Russia continues to engage in frequent malign influence and hybrid activities, including cyber, and use other unconventional tactics to undermine our collective security. Countering hybrid threats and proactively enhancing resilience of key infrastructure and critical sectors is a top Alliance priority.
Together, the United States and Poland maintain a forward posture to defend the Alliance and counter Russia, which continues to undermine the rules-based international order. The United States leads the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group in Poland and deploys a rotational Armored Brigade Combat Team under Operation Atlantic Resolve, funded through the European Deterrence Initiative. Currently, approximately 10,000 U.S. personnel are on rotation in Poland. Poland is a regular contributor to NATO missions, including the eFP in Latvia, the tailored Forward Presence (tFP) in Romania, and NATO air policing missions in the Baltic, Iceland, and most recently, Slovakia. In 2019, the United States and Poland signed two joint declarations that listed planned locations for enhanced U.S. military presence in Poland and in 2020 our two countries concluded an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). The EDCA supplements the NATO Status of Force Agreement, further streamlines the functioning of U.S. forces in Poland, and establishes a mechanism for cooperation on infrastructure and logistical support for enhanced rotational presence. Additionally, the United States is building an Aegis Ashore facility in Poland as a contribution to NATO Ballistic Missile Defense.
President Biden made a historic announcement at the June NATO Summit in Madrid that the U.S. Army V Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, and a field support battalion will be permanently stationed in Poland. These forces represent the first permanently stationed U.S. forces on NATO’s eastern flank and will improve our command-and-control capabilities, interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces, and management of prepositioned equipment.
Poland is a major partner in NATO efforts at military modernization. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, Poland has been divesting itself of legacy Soviet equipment while procuring modern U.S. defense systems. Poland has undertaken an ambitious multi-year, multi-billion-dollar defense modernization program that includes significant purchases from the United States. Currently, the United States has approximately $20 billion in active government-to-government sales cases with Poland under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS cases notified to Congress are listed here, and recent and significant sales include: M1A2 Main Battle Tanks, Javelin missiles and Javelin Command Launch Unit, 32 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters plus services and support, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), F-16 follow-on support, AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), and the Integrated Air and Missile (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)-enabled Patriot Configuration-3+ with Modernized Sensors and Components. On September 12, 2022, Poland formally requested 96 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, a deal valued at more than $7 billion. If concluded, this acquisition will make Poland the second largest user of Apache in the world behind only the United States.
From FY 2019 through FY 2021, the United States also authorized the permanent export of over $1.2 billion in defense articles to Poland via Direct Commercial Sales (DCS). The top categories of DCS to Poland were: Gas Turbines and Associated Equipment ($296.6 million); Aircraft and Related Articles ($173.9 million); and Ground Vehicle ($158.1 million).
In response to the resurgence of Russian aggression since its 2014 seizure of Crimea and its renewed further invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Congress approved $288 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Poland to build defensive capabilities to deter and defend against an increased Russian threat and support military capabilities Poland has or will provide to Ukraine.
Poland received $1.76 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funding in FY 2020-2021. IMET provides professional military education and training to military students to increase professionalization, build capacity in key areas, enhance joint interoperability, create a better understanding of the United States, and grow lasting military-to-military relationships.
Over the last five years, the United States has provided more than $34 million in security assistance to Poland for military mobility, counter-Weapons of Mass Destruction, and intelligence capabilities.
Since October 1973, Poland has participated in UN peacekeeping operations in Namibia, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, and Chad. Poland participated in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from April 1992 to November 2009 and returned to the mission in 2019. As of May 31, 2022, Poland contributes 193 officers and troops to UNIFIL, and an additional 12 experts and police to MINURSO, MONUSCO, UNMIL, UNFIK, and UNTSO, for a total of 194. Eleven of these are women.
For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.