Wesoła Military Base
April 5, 2022
Defense Minister Błaszczak, respected leaders of the U.S. and Polish armed forces, thank you for being here for another historic day in our bilateral relationship.
I would especially like to thank the U.S. Army in Europe for bringing the tanks for this event. It will be a great honor to take a tour later and see first-hand the capabilities that are now available for the Polish military.
Just two weeks ago, President Joe Biden visited Poland to show the United States stands in solidarity with our allies and partners during these unpreceded times.
While he was here President Biden spoke to a crowd at the Zamek Królewski where he evoked words from Polish Pope John Paul II, “Be not afraid” – “Nie lękajcie się.”
These words were meant to exhibit how resilient people can overcome great hardship. They served as an inspiration, and I believe it can be applied to the power of OUR people. Polish and U.S. people who have been fighting back against Russian aggression by working together. Our bilateral relationship has never been stronger and today is another example of our united front.
This same message of unity was shared by dozens of high-level visitors this past month, from Vice President Kamala Harris to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
We are united in collective defense and security. We are united in protecting every inch of NATO territory. And we are united in supporting Ukraine. Slava Ukraini!
The United States has supplied billions of dollars in security and non-security assistance to Ukraine with $13.6 billion of new aid on the way through the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Part of this money will help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s unprovoked invasion and it will help countries impacted by the crisis, countries like Poland who have become a safe haven for over 2.5 million refugees. We are united in doing our part.
As for NATO, safeguarding the security of our members is of utmost importance. Deterrence by strengthening NATO’s Eastern Flank is a core element.
And today Poland is proving they are committed to enhancing the entire alliance by bringing the first Abrams tanks to a European nation. This agreement is a significant step forward for the Polish military.
By acquiring 250 M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks in the latest, U.S. configuration, Poland will have a formidable force. But this is more than an agreement, it is the beginning of a deeper partnership between the Polish Land Force and U.S. Army.
Secretary Austin has asked me to make clear to you today that this is not just purchase and deploy, it’s not just one and done. We are meshing together as a people. Our troops will stand shoulder-to-shoulder.
To ensure the Polish military capabilities are real and a significant deterrent, training on these highly sophisticated machines will have to be continuous.
This kind of training brings Polish soldiers to America and it brings American trainers to Poland. It will deepen our relationship.
And Polish soldiers will start familiarizing themselves with M1A2 Abrams with the support of the US Army in Europe this year.
The end result is interoperability. The U.S. Army and Polish military will both be able to operate Abrams tanks allowing for seamless cooperation. Our soldiers will grow together, learn from each other as we exercise, and if necessary, defend our nations together.
I look forward to beginning this next chapter of our military partnership.
Jesteśmy razem i nic tego nie zmieni!