Transformation Through Training • Issue No: 11 • November 2018 • 29 neighboring with Russia, we became an active Alliance member who is still building its position within this organization. What also matters for consolidation of Poland’s hold is activity of institutions within NATO structure or related to them. Next to other factors, they may strengthen the negotiation mandate and increase Poland’s military and political capabilities within the allied commitments. So, the purpose of my lecture is to present a summary and characteristics of NATO institutions located in Poland. The Multinational Corps Northeast (MNC NE) in Szczecin was the first NATO institution in the territory of Poland. It was established in1999 by three countries, i.e. Denmark, Germany and Poland. Its establishment was an expression of deep engagement of each party into strengthening security in the Baltic Sea region through development of transnational structures3 . The Multinational Corps is an important element of NATO collective defense and its importance is still growing. Key decisions regarding the Szczecin unit were taken during the NATO Summit in Wales (4-5 September 2014). Then, due to Russia’s politics towards Ukraine, NATO re-oriented its position which was a reaction to the annexation of Crimea. Russia’s support to military activities in the territories of eastern Ukraine made the Alliance take intensive, short- and mid-term actions to strengthen the NATO eastern flank (reassurance)4 . Besides, the changes that occurred in the security environment initiated works aiming at creating a new strategy. Russian Federation’s aggressive policy required a thorough adaptation of the Alliance to the new reality, especially during execution of tasks related to the collective defense. Decisions of the Newport Summit started one of the biggest transformations of the Multinational Corps. Key provisions of the Wales Summit in particular included: establishing command headquarters in the eastern flank, permanent presence of armed forces (in the states that joined NATO after 1999), strengthening NATO Response Force, the “Spearhead”, deployment of equipment warehouses to support forces and especially raising the status of the Szczecin unit to the level of a High Combat Readiness unit. Decisions taken in Newport gave Poland responsibility for security in this part of the Alliance, and at the same time it became one of the key defense elements in the eastern flank. A memorandum of agreement was signed in Brussels on 5 February 2015 and pursuant to it the MNC NE became the NATO only unit responsible for permanent monitoring of the situation at the NATO north-east perimeters during peace time. As a result, in 2015 and 2016 activities related to functioning of the Corps were significantly intensified and the process of strengthening the structures of the unit with new member states started5 . Still in 2015 the Corps accomplished its most important task that had been set after the Wales Summit, i.e. it reached full readiness to command various formations of the Alliance, including among others: the, so called, NATO Spearhead or the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), NATO Response Force (NRF), and also NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia6 . For the Corps, that assumed the role of a command headquarters for operational activities in this area of the Alliance, the strategic strengthening of the eastern flank meant that its role within the allied headquarters structure became even more significant. Another summit in July 2016 in Poland announced continuation of the reform of the allied security system, among other things, through intensification of activities aiming at strengthening the eastern flank. To achieve it, NATO multinational battalion combat groups arrived in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Following the decisions of the Warsaw Summit, there are around 3.5 thousand NATO troops deployed in Poland and the Baltic States within the Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP)7 . They form combat groups of the size of a battalion (approx. 1000 troops) and they rotate every 6-9 months.8 Pursuant to the decisions taken, the following NATO forces are located in the territory of Poland: 1) Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) – the American contribution to strengthen the region, the so called European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) – approx. 4,000 troops plus hardware. US troops have been deployed mainly in the western part of Poland – in Żagań, Świętoszów, Skwierzyna and Bolesławiec, but also in the Orzysz training area, i.e. in the eastern part of Poland. The command over the combat groups is coordinated by the Multinational Division North-East in Elbląg using structures of the 16th Elbląg Pomeranian Mechanized Division. The division coordinates all the four battalion combat groups sent by NATO states, mainly by the US, Canada, Great Britain, Romania and Germany. 2) 10th Combat Air Brigade – American brigade task group deployed in May 2017 in Powidz, Poland. Finally, implementation of tasks the MNC NE was assigned during the last two NATO Summits, in Newport (2014) and in Warsaw (2016), with significant participation of the USA, resulted in creating a considerable military infrastructure in Central Europe. For Poland initiatives like permanent presence of US troops, transfer of heavy equipment, organization of military exercise and maneuvers or additional money allocated by the Pentagon to hasten construction of the anti-missile installation in Redzikowo9 . Not only was that an expression of a deep engagement of the US Administration into security of this part of Europe, but at the same time it enhanced the level of interoperability, i.e. the ability of forces to cooperate with other allied forces. But first of all, it strengthened the level of security of the Republic of Poland and belief of significance of Poland within the NATO Command Structure. In November 2002, during a NATO Summit, it was decided that a reform of the military NATO structure was necessary10 . It was decided, within the adopted Prague Agenda, that a new command concept should be created. Two strategic commands were established that closely cooperate: 1) Operational – Allied Command Operation (ACO) 2) Functional – Allied Command Transformation (ACT)11 . Transformation has been one of the Alliance’s priorities since the Prague Summit. ACT focuses on mobilizing armed forces of the respective Alliance and partner nations