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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Poland’s Minister of National Defense Tomasz Siemoniak recently met to discuss ways the two countries can collaborate to safeguard against potential threats in eastern Europe. “The solidarity and partnership roadmap we discussed today identified new areas where we can work together, including special operations forces, air force cooperation, and additional exercises and training,” Hagel said in an April 17 release. “It will also look at how we can further build onto our joint aviation detachment and air missile defense collaboration.” As the nations continue to monitor developments in Ukraine, Hagel said the relationship between the two countries and their commitment to NATO is critical to stability in the region. The US has begun providing additional support to the region: 12 F-16s and 200 support personnel from Aviano AB, Italy, have been committed to the region through the end of 2014. “This is a clear demonstration of America's bilateral commitment to Poland and to our other NATO allies in the region. The United States is also encouraging other NATO allies to contribute to the detachment,” Hagel said. Forces in Romania have also received F-16s to strengthen their capacity to support Poland and neighboring countries.