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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Washington File

13 June 2003

Spain Pledges 1,100 Troops for Polish-Led Division in Iraq

(Confirmation comes at NATO defense ministers meeting June 12) (580)
At the NATO defense ministerial in Brussels June 12, Spanish Defense
Minister Federico Trillo-Figueroa y Martínez-Conde confirmed that his
country would provide 1,100 troops for a Polish-led division helping
to stabilize Iraq.
Following is an article by the American Forces Press Service that
describes the division, which is also to include troops from Ukraine,
Hungary, Honduras, and El Salvador:
(begin text)
Spain Pledges Troops to Polish Division
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 12, 2003 - Spain today pledged 1,100 troops to
the Polish-led division that will become part of the coalition force
in Iraq.
At the NATO defense ministerial, Spanish Defense Minister Federico
Trillo-Figueroa y Martínez-Conde confirmed his country would provide
the military aid.
NATO has already agreed to help Poland with the force. The alliance
will not have any permanent presence in Iraq, but will aid Poland in
supporting roles. These include help with force generation,
communications, logistics and movements, said NATO officials.
Poland volunteered to form the division. A Polish brigade will be the
nucleus for the division, which could ultimately number between 7,000
and 9,000 soldiers, according to Polish officials.
Ukraine has also volunteered to contribute 1,700 troops, and Hungary
will provide 500, along with 800 from Honduras and El Salvador.
Several other countries have also volunteered smaller numbers.
Force-generation conferences will occur over the next few weeks to
figure out in what particular areas that NATO will be able to support
the Poles, officials said. U.S. officials are pleased both with
Poland's decision to form the division and with NATO's offer of
support.
"We are enthusiastic about NATO's decision to help the Poles," said a
senior DoD official speaking on background. "It's a big step for NATO.
It's a strong commitment to a new ally who is stepping up to very
important responsibilities and it will be viewed as very helpful to
the coalition. It's a winner all around as far as we're concerned."
Poland joined NATO in 1999. Its troops have supported operations in
the Balkans and in Afghanistan, providing important support in the war
against global terrorism.
NATO officials said they will study the Polish deployment experience
in Iraq carefully with an eye toward what lessons it would have for
the NATO Reaction Force.
The reaction force will ultimately consist of 20,000 service members
from NATO countries. It will be able to deploy out of the European
area in days rather than months, it will be light and lethal, and NATO
will be able to sustain the force in place for up to a year.
NATO defense ministers approved a concept of operations for the NATO
Response Force during the defense planning committee meeting today. A
senior defense official said there is strong enthusiasm for the force,
which has translated into its accelerated development. He said plans
now call for an early capability by this fall and initial operational
capability in fall 2004.
The NATO Reaction Force will also be a focal point for another
important NATO initiative to develop new capabilities for the
alliance. The official said the capabilities needed to create the
reaction force represent the high-priority capabilities that nations
need to invest in. He pointed specifically to strategic airlift and
sealift as particularly important aspects.
NATO also must invest in secure communications technologies and
precision-guided weapons.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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