Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges made the assessment amid Russia's war against Ukraine, news outlets reported.
The new Polish air hub will be located in the municipality of Baranów, 40 km west of the capital Warsaw, and will integrate air, rail and road transport, according to officials.
The mega-airport, with an initial capacity of 45 million passengers a year, is expected to be built by 2027.
'NATO must upgrade its rapid-response infrastructure'
Hodges was quoted as saying at the weekend that having a hub like this in Poland was important “for the transfer and deployment of military forces by air, rail and road transport, and for providing them with comprehensive logistic support,” the businessinsider.com.pl website reported.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows emphatically that investments are needed to improve the quality of rapid-response infrastructure on NATO’s eastern flank,” the retired commander stressed, as cited by businessinsider.com.pl.
Hodges added that the aim was to enable “quick, large-scale redeployment of troops and equipment,” as part of NATO’s policy of deterrence, according to businessinsider.com.pl.
'Just what NATO needs’
The airport’s planned infrastructure "is just what NATO needs on its eastern flank,” the ex-commander of US Army in Europe said, businessinsider.com.pl reported.
Hodges said, as quoted by businessinsider.com.pl: “No other hub in East-Central Europe offers similar logistic potential and flow rate.”
'Dual-use facility': spokesman
Meanwhile, Konrad Majszyk, a spokesman for the company that oversees the construction project, said that the new hub airport would be “a dual-use facility.”
“As well as being a civilian airport, it is also designed to increase the security of Poland and East-Central Europe,” Majszyk told Polish state news agency PAP.
“It means that NATO forces will be able to use the civilian infrastructure if a need arises,” he said.
Majszyk added that during a military conflict the airport could be used for the transfer of troops, equipment, goods and humanitarian aid, PAP reported.
His declarations came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued for the sixth week.
Source: businessinsider.com.pl, PAP