Here's What We Actually Know About Plans For A 'Fort Trump' In Poland


Poland, which has had a Russian boot on its windpipe for much of its history, wants U.S. troops to build a big military installation in its country — and the Pentagon is proceeding cautiously.

During his recent visit to the White House, Polish President Andrzej Duda invited the U.S. to permanently station troops in his country at a base that he dubbed “Fort Trump.”

The U.S. military is in the early stages of considering Poland’s offer and has not made any decisions yet, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on Monday.

“This also has an impact on the alliance as a whole, the protection of Europe, we will obviously be engaging with other NATO nations in the alliance as we move forward,” Mattis said.

The new base would mean that U.S. troops would be permanently stationed on Russia’s border, which Russia has a tendency of crossing. Most of what is now Poland was absorbed into the Russian empire near the end of the 18th century. It regained its independence after World War I, but only briefly: In September 1939, the Nazis and Soviets invaded and partitioned the country between themselves. After World War II, Poland became a Soviet satellite state for 45 years.

Speaking at the White House, Duda said Poland has “a very important strategic location in Europe,” and that he is convinced that the U.S. has a vital national security interest in stationing troops there.

Right now, the Defense Department and Poland are looking at the land proposed for “Fort Trump,” Mattis said. The issues being looked at include how much land is available for firing ranges, maneuver ranges, and maintenance requirements.

“The first thing we have to do is look at what are they offering because then you would size up what it can actually hold and sustain,” Mattis explained. “We're in the exploratory phase of doing just that. We’re still early in it but we’re working together and we’re greatly appreciative of the Polish offer.”

U.S. President Donald Trump poses with the U.S. Army cavalry stetson given to him by Lt. Col. Steven Gventer, Battle Group Poland commander, while the First Lady Melania and the Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, Agata, look on. July 6. 2017.DoD photo.

But Mattis pushed back when a reporter asked him if his comments indicated the U.S. military feels that it needs a permanent military installation in Poland.

“I’m not willing to say we need it,” Mattis said. “I’m just saying we’re exploring the offer and we have to know what it is before we can say if we need it or not.”

One complicating factor could be NATO’s 1997 agreement with Russia known as the Founding Act, in which the alliance vowed that it would not permanently station substantial combat forces in NATO members that used to belong to the Soviet Union or Warsaw Pact “in the current and foreseeable security environment.” For its part,  Russia agreed to “exercise similar restraint in its conventional force deployments in Europe.”

However, the Founding Act is a political commitment, not a legally binding document, said former Ambassador Eric Edelman, who helped draft the agreement. Moreover, the security environment has changed considerably since 1997: Russia has since invaded Georgia and Ukraine, he said.

It is possible that the United States and Poland could reach a bilateral agreement on Fort Trump, but it would be better if the North Atlantic Council as a whole approved such a move, Edelman told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.

“We would be well advised to work with the allies because I think you could divide the alliance if you went ahead just purely bilaterally,” said Edelman, of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C. “But I don’t see any legal impediments to doing a bilateral deal with Poland, if someone wanted to do it.”

A NATO official declined to say if the Founding Act prevents NATO from permanently stationing troops in Poland and other newer NATO members that used to be within the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

“This specific proposal has not been discussed at NATO,” the official told T&P; in an email. “NATO already has a strong presence in Poland. This includes a multinational battlegroup led by the US, to deter any possible aggression.”

“The U.S. already deploys forces to a number of allies, including Poland, on a bilateral basis” he added. “So it is for Poland and the U.S. to look into the details of any further deployment.”


The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.

Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.

And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Jeremy Cuellar, left, and Kemia Hassel face life in prison if convicted of murdering Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III in Berrien County Dec. 31, 2018. (Courtesy of Berrien County Sheriff's Dept.)

BERRIEN COUNTY, MI -- The wife of an Army sergeant killed in December admitted that she planned his killing together with another man, communicating on Snapchat in an attempt to hide their communications, according to statements she made to police.

Read More Show Less

A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.

Read More Show Less
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.

They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.

What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.

Read More Show Less
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)

The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.

Read More Show Less