POWIDZ, Poland -- The ability to rapidly deploy military vehicles and other equipment is a key element to deterring aggression in Europe and reassuring the United States’ NATO allies. That ability requires a great deal of facilities infrastructure and that is why the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is managing the construction of a new $360 million Army Prepositioned Stock, or APS, facility in Powidz, Poland.
Construction on the new APS site in Poland, including its multiple warehouses, other buildings and associated infrastructure improvements, to support that readiness is expected to be completed later this year. On any weekday more than 400 people are working on the busy site to meet that timeline.
The facility will be operated by the U.S. Army’s 405th Army Field Support Brigade in close partnership with local Polish forces, and will be the newest and largest of the 405th’s APS sites in Europe - augmenting their existing APS facilities in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy.
The project is primarily funded by NATO and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the importance of the project to the alliance and the facility’s goal of speeding up U.S. reinforcement for NATO allies in Eastern Europe in remarks from 2019 ahead of the start of construction at the site.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District Senior Project Engineer James O’Riley echoed that sentiment while at the construction site recently.
“This is the largest NATO investment in the last 30 years and will allow the rapid deployment of a full armor combat brigade wherever it may be needed,” O’Riley said. “It’s a very modern facility and it’s large scale makes it the biggest enterprise the Corps has been involved in here in Poland and it’s a great project to be part of.”
The overall project features roughly 650,000 square feet of humidity-controlled warehouse space, a vehicle maintenance facility and several additional supporting facilities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also overseen the design and construction of significant infrastructure improvements for the site, including substantial rail tracks and links to facilitate the movement of equipment to and from the site.
Additionally, 58,000 square feet of earth-covered munitions storage will be built to supplement the site going forward.
According to the 405th AFSB, about 85 battle tanks, 190 armored combat vehicles, 35 artillery, and 4 armored vehicle launched bridges along with hundreds of supporting equipment sets and pieces will be stored at the new site. They said moving that amount of equipment from the U.S. could take from 45 to 60 days, and that with the new APS site in Poland that timeline is reduced to 4-7 days to issue the equipment for operational employment.
O’Riley noted that current events in Eastern Europe have punctuated the importance of projects like the APS work in Powidz and others in the region.
“You work on facilities like this and hope it’s going to just be for training and for integrating with Polish and NATO forces and you hope it never needs to be used in a war but here we are reminded there is a lot of uncertainty,” O’Riley said. “I’m quite proud of what we’re doing here if it helps build a safer world and build NATO’s presence and capabilities.”
O’Riley emphasized the important role that partnership has played in the success of the project so far as it nears completion.
“The contractors we’ve had and the team of our local national quality assurance contractors, the Poles are technically capable, very decent and straightforward and we’ve been able to work through any problems as they come,” O’Riley said. “The USACE team here has also been great and our proponent at the ODCSENG (Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer at U.S. Army Europe and Africa) and the end user in the 405th has been involved and all the relationships have been good on this project contributing to our successes here on this important project.”
After being turned over later this year, the 405th AFSB has said they anticipate the site to be operational and fully mission capable the following year or no later than the year after.
Over the next several years, additional facilities are planned to augment and grow the site, ranging from hangars to additional administrative space to other logistical improvements.