In support of its security cooperation objectives, the United States recently inked an agreement to sell mobile rocket launchers to one of its staunchest allies.
Poland purchased a $411 million foreign military sales total package that includes M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, Unitary Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems Pods, Army Tactical Missiles Systems Pods, Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems and Humvees.
The purchase was made through the U.S. Army's main executor of FMS--United States Army Security Assistance Command--and it's one of many examples of the longstanding U.S.-Polish partnership.
This recent case, combined with Poland's $4.6B FMS purchase of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 last year, is a significant boon to the nation's widely touted military modernization plan.
The Patriot is one of the most powerful air defense missile systems in the world and its purchase marks Poland's largest military procurement ever.
"Not only were we able to execute these really major cases with our close ally and partner, but it was done in an extraordinary timeframe," said Edmond Bedard, a USASAC country program manager.
Bedard said the request was officially submit-ted in October and a letter of offer and acceptance was finalized by USASAC 71 days later. According to Bedard, the standard timeline for similar cases is about 150 days.
"This is a win-win for everyone. Not only does this acquisition help our partners modernize their armed forces and defend their borders, but it helps stabilize the region and contributes to interoperability with the U.S. and other NATO partners during Coalitions operations," explained Bedard.
With a volatile Russia on its eastern flank, Poland has stepped up its efforts to acquire more advanced weapons and expand its defense capabilities. Along with NATO allies, thousands of U.S. troops routinely rotate in and out of Poland. And those numbers are expected to rise.
In June, after a year of negotiations, President Donald Trump and Polish Andrzej Duda signed an agreement that will increase the rotating troop numbers and infrastructure.
Trump noted that the agreement will continue to enhance our security cooperation and that Poland will provide basing and infrastructure to support military presence of an additional 1,000 U.S. troops. He also said the Polish government will pay the projects at no cost to the U.S.
Then acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said this "enhanced bilateral cooperation in security will deepen our Polish-American partnership, which is vital to addressing today's current threats and challenges."
Strong U.S.-Polish relations date back to the American Revolution when Polish citizens like Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski aided the U.S. cause. America was the first country to recognize an independent Poland in 1919.
Since then, Poland has contributed to operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, as well as operations against ISIS, along with hosting a multitude of military exercises and forums to promote peace in the Middle East and throughout the world.
Once a recipient of U.S. Agency for International Development funds, Poland is now a provider of assistance to other countries in the region.
"There's no doubt that our shared history of military cooperation has helped secure the region, provided deterrence and ensured democracy and sovereignty," said Bedard. "This partnership has been beneficial for both nations as we help secure one another and our global allies."