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​​​Four F-22s from the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th FW, Tyndall AFB, Fla., take part in a multi-aircraft flyover in Warsaw, Poland during the 100th Anniversary of Polish Independence and Armed Forces Day. Air Force photo by SrA. Joshua Magbanua.

​The US military should expand and make permanent its presence in Eastern Europe to increase deterrence and be able to more quickly respond to a contingency in the region, the former head of US European Command and a former NATO leader proposed this week. 

Retired USAF Gen. Philip Breedlove, who commanded EUCOM and NATO forces until 2016, said in a ​report published Thursday by the Atlantic Council that US allies face a “formidable and evolving adversary” and Russian threats are unlikely to end. While the current US presence is largely rotational, making a permanent presence has become “timely and urgent.” 

Specifically, Breedlove and former NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow propose a series of steps, including upgrading the US Mission Command in Poland to a division headquarters to ensure enhanced flow of US reinforcements in the region. 

For the Air Force, the authors propose enlarging and making permanent the detachment of C-130s and F-16s at Lask Air Base in Poland, making permanent the MQ-9 detachment at Miroslawiec Air Base, and committing to a higher level of exercises. This is in addition to more deployments of US Army brigades, special forces groups, US Navy ships, and equipment such as artillery and missile defense systems.