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Polish-U.S. Defense Leaders Look to Further Crucial Partnership

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak discussed the situation in Ukraine and ways to strengthen interoperability between the United States and Poland during a meeting at the Pentagon.

The two men met today, in part, to sign the Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement, which will deepen the partnership between the nations' defense industrial bases.

Two men stand on the steps of the Pentagon during a ceremony.
Pentagon Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III stands with Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak prior to a bilateral exchange meeting at the Pentagon, May 5, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders, DOD
VIRIN: 230505-D-XI929-2014

Austin welcomed Blaszczak, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister, and brought up the ghost of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish officer who fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. "Ever since the founding of our republic, Americans and Poles have fought alongside one another," Austin said. "And the bond between our two countries continues to grow stronger to this day." 

Austin noted that Polish support for Ukraine has been strong, and the country has been a leader in getting the Ukrainian military the weapons and training it needs to defend itself from the Russian invasion. "In fact, without Poland's tremendous contributions, we would never have been able to do as much for Ukraine after Russia's indefensible invasion," Austin said.

Blaszczak said the challenging security situation on NATO's eastern front as a result of the Russian invasion "has modified the landscape of the Polish-American defense relations and confirmed our commitment to security and stability in the region."

The Polish defense minister praised the solidarity, unity and unprecedented support, saying he's convinced it will continue until Ukraine's victory. 

Poland is the site of a U.S.-led NATO Battle Group, and the country hosts thousands of U.S. service members. Poland is investing in facilities for the U.S. forces, including the headquarters for the U.S. V Corps.

Poland has divested itself of much old, Soviet-era equipment and has invested in state-of-the-art U.S. systems, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Abrams tank, the Patriot missile system, and the HIMARS multiple rocket-launching system. "I trust that these acquisitions, which will also pave the way for more intense cooperation of our defense industries, ... ensure an effective maintenance of the U.S.-made equipment used by the Polish armed forces in support of this aspect of our cooperation," Blaszczak said. 

The Polish defense minister will travel to Illinois to mark the 30th anniversary of his country's partnership with the Illinois National Guard as part of the State Partnership Program.

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