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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz. Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed an agreement on Saturday that paves the way for an increased presence of U.S. troops in the European country.

Why it matters: The deal is a part of the Trump administration's plan to withdraw some 12,000 troops from Germany and redeploy about 5,400 of them to other European countries.

Yes, but: The withdrawal has been met with some bipartisan opposition in Congress, as many lawmakers believe removing troops would encourage Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

The U.S.-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) signed Saturday provides a legal framework for the countries "to enhance and modernize our capabilities, in support of the NATO Alliance’s collective defense."

  • It also gives U.S. forces to access specific Polish military installations to enhance the the sites' capabilities and facilities and lays the groundwork to deploy some 1,000 more U.S. troops to the country. 4,a500 U.S. troops are currently based in Poland, per ABC News.
  • It will cost Poland around 500 million zlotys ($135 million) per year, according to Reuters.
  • The U.S. has similar agreements with other NATO members, such as Belgium, Hungary, and Romania.

What they're saying: A State Department spokesperson said in a statement to Axios the agreement "is a milestone on our defense partnership which enables an increased U.S. military presence in Poland." 

The big picture: Pompeo and Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Jacek Czaputowicz also discussed neighboring Belarus, where demonstrators protesting the results of the country's recent presidential election have clashed with riot police.

Go deeper: Pompeo denounces U.N. Security Council for rejecting Iran arms embargo extension

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Podcasts

11th hour troop withdrawals

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it would withdraw around 2,000 troops from Afghanistan by mid-January. This comes after President Trump’s Pentagon reshuffle last week — when he fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a few other officials.

The defense industry worries about Biden

Data: FactSet; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

America's defense contractors aren't celebrating Joe Biden's victory. They haven't accepted defeat yet, but they are digging in for budgetary battles.

Why it matters: The biggest companies in the military-industrial complex tend to see increasing revenues only under Republican presidents.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

The bomb cyclone and atmospheric river seen via satellite on Sunday. The center of the storm is at the middle of the comma shape, due west of Washington State. (CIRA/RAMMB)

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

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