"The US presence in Europe will be maintained, but some changes announced by the Donald Trump administration are unlikely to take place," said the former Supreme Commander of NATO forces in Europe and the commander of US troops in the Old Continent Curtis "Mike" Scaparotti.
Scaparotti, who took part in The Road to Warsaw Security Forum conference launched on Tuesday, emphasised the importance of transatlantic ties. He was optimistic about the future of the Alliance, although he admitted that NATO is struggling not only with external challenges, but also with internal tensions.
When asked if after the change in US president, US-Polish relations will deteriorate and whether Poland should still expect an increase in the presence of US troops, the retired four-star general assured that "US-Polish relations are strong and durable", and the presence of US troops in Poland is important for both defence and deterrence.
"US forces on the eastern flank are anchored in Poland," said Scaparotti, pointing to the importance of the brigade and logistics base stationed in Poland. He also pointed out that the eastern flank is also the Black Sea region.
"The policy that concerns stationing in Europe is likely to be reviewed. It is happening with every new administration and also will this time," said the former SACEUR. He added that the changes in the deployment of forces in Europe, including Germany, announced by the Trump administration, will also be reviewed. "And I think - this is my personal opinion - that some of the announced changes will not take place," emphasised Scaparotti.
He also pointed out that the time of the pandemic did not reduce the amount of potential threats, and mentioned the construction of an interoperable anti-missile defence system and increasing the mobility of troops among the most urgent tasks to be performed.
The Warsaw Security Forum is a conference organised since 2014 by the Pulaski Foundation with NATO and the National Security Office. This year's edition, co-organised by The German Marshall Fund of the United States, is taking place online due to the pandemic. The conference partners are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council of Europe, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.