DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 – Critical security issues, including Russia-Ukraine, U.S. and NATO activities in Poland, and U.S.-Polish defense cooperation, were among the topics of discussion during a meeting between Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Polish Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak at the Pentagon today, according to a DoD news release.
The two leaders discussed the importance of cooperation, bilaterally and as part of NATO, to reassure allies and strengthen NATO deterrence, the release said.
The release said Carter encouraged continued Polish leadership, regionally and within NATO, and asked Siemoniak for Poland's continued contributions internationally, such as in Afghanistan, counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant efforts, and with assistance to Ukraine.
Carter welcomed Poland's decision to purchase the Patriot missile defense system and thanked Siemoniak for Poland's pledge to increase its defense spending to two percent GDP and its commitment to defense modernization, according to the release.
Solidarity and Partnership Program
The two leaders also discussed the Solidarity and Partnership Program, which serves as a roadmap for bilateral defense cooperation between the two nations, the release said.
Both leaders expressed their pleasure that the Aegis Ashore missile defense site in Redzikowo, Poland, is moving forward on schedule, the release said.
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, according to the release.
In addition to continuing U.S. Air Force rotations at Lask Air Base in Poland and other exercises and training activities under U.S. European Command's Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. presence at Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin also was discussed, the release said.
Both leaders stated that they look forward to working together at the NATO Ministerial next month, according to the release.