Last Thursday the United States and Poland signed a formal agreement on the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles on Polish soil, which followed the signing on July 8 by the U.S. and Czech foreign ministries to station a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic as part of a planned missile defense shield in Central Europe.
As part of the deal, last Wednesday, the U.S. agreed to deploy a U.S.-manned Patriot battery in Poland, which the U.S. said would begin in 2009.
"Specific number hasn't been set yet. But a battery of this size should be a little over a hundred people..., adding in the rest of the complement responsible for security and maintenance and things of that nature would add people. I don't have a specific number for you on that," said John Rood, acting under secretary of state for arms control and international security.
"The United States is prepared, and we commit in this document to deployment of a U.S. Army Patriot battery in Poland. We'll begin those deployments once, of course, we reach the necessary agreements with the Poles, and that could begin next year. And then we set the goal of establishing a garrison for the U.S. Army Patriot battery in Poland by the year of 2012," he said.
The official said the missile battery would be a U.S. Army Patriot battery, so that it will be owned and operated by the United States Army and "it will come from one of the existing ones."
"It's still a matter for the Secretary of Defense to determine exactly how he'd like to do that. But for example, the United States maintains a battery in Germany, we have some in other parts of the world," he said.
Moscow has consistently expressed its opposition to the U.S. missile shield, saying it threatens its national security. The United States says the shield is designed to thwart missile attacks by what it calls "rogue states," including Iran.