Secretary Carter met with Polish Minister of Defense Siemoniak at the Pentagon to discuss critical transatlantic security issues, including Russia-Ukraine, U.S. and NATO reassurance activities in Poland, and U.S.-Polish defense cooperation.
The two leaders discussed the importance of cooperation, bilaterally and as part of NATO, to reassure allies and strengthen NATO deterrence. Secretary Carter encouraged continued Polish leadership, regionally and in NATO, and asked Minister Siemoniak for Poland’s continued contributions internationally, such as in Afghanistan, counter-ISIL efforts, and with assistance to Ukraine.
Secretary Carter welcomed Poland’s decision to purchase the Patriot missile defense system and thanked Minister Siemoniak for Poland’s pledge to increase its defense spending to two percent GDP and its commitment to defense modernization. They also discussed the Solidarity and Partnership Program, which serves as a roadmap for our bilateral defense cooperation. Both expressed their pleasure that the Aegis Ashore missile defense site in Redzikowo is moving forward on schedule.
Secretary Carter discussed how European Reassurance Initiative funds are being used to increase training and exercises, including with Special Operation Forces, and to improve infrastructure, and may eventually be used to temporarily preposition training equipment in Europe. In addition to continuing U.S. Air Force rotations at Lask Air Base and other exercises and training activities under European Command’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. presence at Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin was discussed.
Both leaders stated that they look forward to working together at the NATO Ministerial next month.
Release No: NR-179-15
May 19, 2015