BEMOWO PISKE, Poland - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz visited the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland to discuss the capabilities and effectiveness of the battle group in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, Aug. 25, 2017.
The unit is one of four NATO multinational battle groups arrayed across NATO's eastern flank in the Baltics and Poland with the mission to deter aggression and defend the Alliance's borders if need be.
"The battle group is made up of about 1,200 U.S., U.K. and Romanian Soldiers," said Lt. Col. Christopher L'Heureux, Battle Group Commander. "We have an air defense battery, an artillery battery, deep reconnaissance squadron that the Brits bring and three U.S. infantry companies."
Stoltenberg and Macierewicz met with battle group leaders briefly to discuss the mission and status of the unit before interacting with elements of each participating nation, spending time to converse about how their deployment has been and some of the elements that each group brings to the overall composition.
"Our number one job is to deter, in order to deter we have to show capability and resolve," L'Heureux said. "We have to have the will to do it, and the means to display that."
The two took time to have a meal with the Soldiers of the battle group and offer words of affirmation to the group.
"We have the four battle groups in place, they are combat ready, they are professional, they are dedicated and I am really impressed with what I have seen today," Stoltenberg said. "You are part of a much larger concept where NATO is sending a very strong, very clear signal to any potential adversary that if one NATO Ally is attacked it will trigger a response from the whole Alliance.
"The strength of this battle group is of course to quality of you the Soldiers. That is the Core of NATO."
The Secretary General closed out his visit with statements to the press alongside Macierewicz, where he recognized Poland for their contributions to the Alliance in both capabilities and growth and finished by thanking the daily contributions of the Soldiers.
"This is a direct result of the decisions we made in Warsaw last year. The battle groups are very important," Stoltenberg said. "They send a very strong message of multinational unity."