Transatlantic Security Initiative

  • Speranza Joins Defense One to Discuss Russia Wargame


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  • ZAPAD 2017: A Guide to Russia’s Largest Military Exercise

    The late summer of 2017 could see one of the largest Russian military exercises in Europe since the end of the Cold War. Zapad 2017, a joint strategic exercise involving Russian and Belarusian military forces, is expected to take place in September 2017 in Russia’s western military district, the Kaliningrad exclave, and across Belarus. Rising tensions in Europe have created a heightened sense of instability and insecurity, making the plans for a large-scale military exercise much more than just a routine matter. This quick-guide provides a helpful overview of what Zapad 2017 is, why it matters, and what it might mean for Europe and the United States and NATO.
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  • Left of Launch: Countering Theater Ballistic Missiles

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    NATO currently finds itself in an increasingly competitive international environment, with potential adversaries who field, among other things, progressively capable ballistic and cruise missile capabilities. This is particularly the case with Russia, which has proven itself capable of fielding conventional long- range strike capabilities that can reach far into NATO territory. Russia’s ballistic missiles, such as the Iskander system, represent a real threat not only to NATO members in the region, but also to potential forward basing locations needed for US and NATO reinforcements in a
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  • The US-UK “Special Relationship” at a Critical Crossroads

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    Ever since World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom have enjoyed a truly special relationship grounded in a shared commitment to a world order based on democracy, the rule of law, and free trade, among other commonalities. However, significant changes on both sides of the Atlantic–with Britain’s decision to exit the European Union and the election of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States–have brought the partnership to a critical crossroads. Unfavorable domestic pressures faced by both leaders and diverging strategic outlooks are putting the US-UK “special...

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  • Alternative Futures: Rethinking the European Nuclear Posture

    Lingering uncertainty regarding US support for NATO and burden-sharing among allies has raised questions as to the future of the NATO nuclear-sharing arrangement. While US President Donald J. Trump’s reaffirmation of the US commitment to Article 5, NATO’s mutual defense clause, may have temporarily placated allies, intense feelings of insecurity among the European allies remain. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, taking an unusually strong stance, gave voice to these sentiments: “The time in which [Europe] can rely fully on others—they are somewhat over.” With these remarks, Merkel offered her answer to a question that has been asked repeatedly since Trump was elected president of the United States: Can Europe count on its ally across the Atlantic to come to its...
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  • Zapad: A Window into Russia’s Military Mind?

    Russia’s large-scale military exercise to be conducted in September can provide critical insight for NATO allies seeking to improve their readiness posture against an increasingly revanchist Russia, according to an Estonian defense official.

    “Russians train exactly as they intend to fight, thus Zapad will give up ample information on their military and political thinking as it is right now,” Kristjan Prikk, undersecretary for defense policy at Estonia’s Ministry of Defense, said at the Atlantic Council on July 11. According to Prikk, “we don’t consider this year’s Zapad exercise in itself to be a direct threat to us [NATO] or a cover for an attack, but we have to keep in mind that the Russians have the nasty habit of hiding their actual military endeavors behind exercises.”

    “We have to be calm, vigilant, flexible,” in the months leading up to and following Zapad 2017, said Prikk.

    In September, Russia will conduct a joint military exercise with...

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  • Meeting the Russian Hybrid Challenge

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    Since its takeover of Crimea in 2014, Russia has become increasingly emboldened, undertaking actions that, rather than propping up a failing regime, strike directly against the functioning of Western democracy. Employing a combination of "hybrid" actions–political, diplomatic, informational, cyber-, economic, covert and low-level force–the Kremlin has targeted countries not only on the fringes of its sphere of influence, but in the heart of Europe and even the United States. 

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  • NATO and Trump

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    A turbulent security environment in Europe and strong rhetoric from President Trump have brought renewed attention to NATO, its role in dealing with shared security challenges, and the future of the United States’ relationship with its allies. Front and center are legitimate questions about commitments to defense burden sharing, as well as NATO’s role in counterterrorism. This serves an opportunity to renew the transatlantic security relationship. As part of the Atlantic Council’s project ‘A New Deal for NATO,’ NATO and Trump: The Case for a New Transatlantic Bargain provides pivotal insight and recommendations on...

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  • Nordenman in USNI News: Sinking of Surveillance Ship Highlights Increase in Russian Navy Operations


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  • Benitez Joins C-SPAN's Washington Journal to Discuss US Funding for NATO


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