The ceremony was attended by a number of military and civilian officials, including Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland, who expressed his satisfaction that the decisions coming out of the Wales and Warsaw Summits, have become reality:
It is no exaggeration to say that this moment has been awaited by generations of Poles since the end of the Second World War, dreaming about Poland’s return to democratic and truly free West.
The process of a gradual improvement in NATO’s deterrence and defence capabilities produced its first results at the Wales Summit. Further-reaching decisions came in July 2016 in Warsaw. The enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) is an initiative of great importance, particularly for Poland and the Baltic States. Previously, support was to be provided by sending reinforcements, primarily the NATO Response Force and, if needed, also Follow-on Forces. The reinforcement concept remains in place, but starting this year it has been complemented by the actual deployment of four battalion-size battle groups—some 1,000 troops each—to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. This will help the Alliance in defending these countries, especially in case of a sudden attack.
“You stand united on Polish soil ready to deter and defend against emerging threats. – General Curtis Scaparotti, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), said when addressing soldiers of the battle group. – We are proud of you and we appreciate your service as you help to defend our Alliance built around the principles of democracy, freedom and rule of law. All of NATO is prepared to support you.”
The U.S-led battle group is stationed in Orzysz and hosted by Poland’s 15th Mechanised Brigade. At this point, it consists of American, British and Romanian troops. This summer, they will be joined by soldiers from Croatia.
“Having multinational Allies working together is a visible demonstration of the Alliance’s commitment to Article V of the Washington Treaty, which includes the collective defence principle meaning that an attack against one member is considered an attack on the whole bloc.” – General Scaparotti concluded.