The Pentagon is in the early stages of examining land in Poland for a potential permanent US military base, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday.
The military is looking at what type of operations, such as test flights and test firing, could be conducted on land being offered by the NATO ally, Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
Poland has been lobbying for a permanent US base amid concerns over Russian aggression. Polish President Andrzej Duda met last week with President Trump and said the base could be called ” Fort Trump.”
“What we’re doing right now is with Poland, alongside Poland, we’re examining what land they are talking about,” Mattis said. “The first thing we have to do is look at what are they offering, because then you size up what it can actually hold and sustain. So we are in the exploratory phase of doing just that.”
No decisions on US basing have been made, he said.
Duda had worked to sell Trump on the idea of Fort Trump during his visit on Sept. 18, saying he firmly believed it is possible and would serve both countries’ interests.
“Poland is an attractive country, and first and foremost it’s got a very important strategic location in Europe,” Duda said during a joint press conference with the president.
Trump railed against the US “defending immensely wealthy countries” but said Poland had offered to pay for the base.
“The president offered us much more than $2 billion to do this, and so we’re looking at it. We’re looking at it from the standpoint of, No. 1, military protection for both countries, and also cost, a term you don’t hear too often and you haven’t heard too often over the last 25 years,” Trump said.