Poland will likely deploy four F-16s to surveil ISIS fighters within the next few weeks as part of a NATO reconnaissance mission. Speaking after the alliance’s defense ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday, Poland’s defense minister, Antoni Macierewicz, said the fighters should arrive in the Middle East before the alliance’s Warsaw Summit in July, but will not take part in combat, The Associated Press reported. The deployment will be Poland’s first contribution to the anti-ISIS effort, according to the AP, and comes after Defense Secretary Ash Carter called on NATO to step up its support of the fight against ISIS. Macierewicz said “the crews are ready for takeoff,” once the president provides final approval, which is seen as a formality.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.