Former EUCOM Boss Calls for Increased, Permanent US Presence in Poland

Four F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th FW, Tyndall AFB, Fla., take part in a multi-aircraft flyover in Warsaw, Poland during the 100th Anniversary of Polish Independence and Armed Forces Day. Air Force photo by SrA. Joshua Magbanua.

The US military should expand and make permanent its presence in Eastern Europe to increase deterrence and be able to more quickly respond to a contingency in the region, the former head of US European Command and a former NATO leader proposed this week.

Retired USAF Gen. Philip Breedlove, who commanded EUCOM and NATO forces until 2016, said in a report published Thursday by the Atlantic Council that US allies face a “formidable and evolving adversary” and Russian threats are unlikely to end. While the current US presence is largely rotational, making a permanent presence has become “timely and urgent.”

Specifically, Breedlove and former NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow propose a series of steps, including upgrading the US Mission Command in Poland to a division headquarters to ensure enhanced flow of US reinforcements in the region.

For the Air Force, the authors propose enlarging and making permanent the detachment of C-130s and F-16s at Lask Air Base in Poland, making permanent the MQ-9 detachment at Miroslawiec Air Base, and committing to a higher level of exercises. This is in addition to more deployments of US Army brigades, special forces groups, US Navy ships, and equipment such as artillery and missile defense systems.