US Establishes New Military Headquarters in Poland

August 5, 2020 Updated: August 6, 2020

The U.S. Army Chief of Staff announced on Wednesday that the V Corps forward command post would be located in Poland and manned by 200 U.S. troops on a rotational basis.

Gen. James McConville went to Poland to promote Maj. Gen. John Kolasheski, V Corps’ commanding general, to the rank of lieutenant general and officially unfurl the V Corps flag there, according to a statement by U.S. Army Europe.

The main mission of the new forward headquarters of V Corps will be “to conduct operational planning, mission command, and oversight of the rotational forces in Europe,” the statement said.

The Fifth Corps headquarters was re-established in February after several years of inactivity in Fort Knox, Kentucky, where about 630 soldiers will be stationed.

Approximately 200 of them will man the new forward command post in Poland on a rotational basis and the first rotation is expected in 2021, according to the statement.

“The activation of an additional Corps headquarters provides the needed level of command and control focused on synchronizing U.S. Army, allied, and partner nation tactical formations operating in Europe. It will enhance U.S. Army Europe and U.S. European Command as they work alongside allies and partners to promote regional stability and security,” said McConville.

It will support allies and partners in the region and will also participate in military exercise DEFENDER-Europe 21 which will be held next year.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Feb. 29, 2020. (Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

The United States and Poland have already completed negotiations on the enhanced defense cooperation agreement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement Monday.

The agreement will allow the United States to increase its military presence to 1,000 troops on a rotational basis including the new “V Corps Headquarters, division headquarters, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities” in addition to 4,500 U.S. personnel already on rotation in Poland.

The move “will enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure our Allies,” and will strengthen the defense capabilities on NATO’s Eastern flank with Russia, Esper said.

Poland’s Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak welcomed the decision to establish forward headquarters of the V Corps in Poland.

“This is a decision that concludes our efforts to increase the presence of American troops in Poland,” Blaszczak said during the ceremony in Krakow, Poland. It is important that this presence is permanent, not temporary, he added.

Last week, Esper unveiled plans to partially relocate U.S. troops that would be withdrawn from Germany to other parts of Europe, following President Donald Trump’s announcement to reduce the military personnel stationed in Germany from roughly 36,000 down to 24,000.

“Various United States headquarters will be consolidated in locations in Europe, outside of Germany, including in some cases, co-locating at the same locations as their NATO counterparts in Belgium and Italy,” said Esper. “This will strengthen NATO and improve the operational efficiency and readiness of over 2,000 service members in these headquarters.”

Simon Veazey contributed to this report.