Poland offers to defray cost of permanent US troop presence

Poland wants a US Armored Division stationed permanently on Polish soil, and has offered up to 2 billion dollars in financial support to make that happen….

According to a leaked brief. Which could be just a “Course of Action” brief among many course of action briefs.

https://www.defensenews.com/flashpoints/2018/05/29/poland-offers-up-to-2-billion-for-a-permanent-us-military-presence/

The US Army has ten active divisions and a spare. 1st Armor, 1st Cavalry, 1st Infantry, 2nd Infantry, 3rd Infantry, 4th Infantry, 7th Infantry (HQ only aka the spare), 10th Mountain, 25th Infantry, 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne (Air Assault).

The odds of the US Army permanently posting 10% of all available combat power at any given time in Poland is closer to the “none” side of “slim to none.”

1, it would piss off Russia, without really accomplishing anything significant other than pissing off Russia.
2, even with 2 billion in help it would still cost the US taxpayers a lot of money, we went from 300,000 servicemembers in Europe at the end of the 1990s to about 1/10th of that as of last year to save money.
3, the North Atlantic Council has determined to put “Battle Groups” in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for the foreseeable future. Along with the “Operation Atlantic Resolve” that puts a US Armored Brigade in Poland and the Baltics and the “Baltics Air Policing” mission supported by NATO there is a significant amount of international support in that area. Adding a second armored brigade and a division HQ wouldn’t do much.
4, units in Europe are actually slower to deploy than units in Kansas, Texas, or Georgia. The 3rd Infantry Division has more main battle tanks than the entire Marine Corps and is conveniently located next to a major port on the Atlantic ocean. Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Riley, Kansas, have very large rail yards to get their equipment to a port and on the move. A US based brigade can pack up and be on a boat in about a week to two weeks. A European based unit is much, much slower as there is still no real “military Schengen area” allowing free passage across borders, and getting  out of the port of Kiel means complying with German and EU regulations, which you may not be familiar with.

So from the US perspective, there is darn near nothing to gain from forward stationing troops in Poland, and a whole lot of negatives when it comes to strategic flexibility. So I don’t think that it will happen. What I do expect will happen is that one Squadron from the 2d Cavalry Regiment will continue to serve as “Battle Group Poland.” The Brits, Canadians, Germans, and a few others will round out Battle Groups Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The normal NATO political process will continue to grind slowly, not able to keep up with Russian destabilizing activities should Russia start getting more serious about them.

Then again, Trumps the President, so my analysis here might as well be written in sand.

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