The Baltic Sea region has emerged as a key friction zone between the West and Russia since the onset of the Ukraine crisis in 2014. Russia has built up its military presence and activity in the region, challenging the post-Cold War order in Europe and spurring new concerns in the United States, NATO, and its partners about the region’s security. The overriding US security priority in the Baltic Sea region is to provide deterrence against aggression toward the Baltic States and effective defense if that deterrence fails. The Baltic States are arguably NATO’s most vulnerable members, and their small geographical size and limited military resources mean that they cannot, by themselves, offer strategic depth to the United States and NATO during a crisis. However, the region also contains two of NATO’s most valuable partners—Sweden and Finland—along with the emerging leader of NATO’s east, Poland.
Magnus Nordenman’s “Enhancing the US-Swedish Defense Relationship” focuses on one of the most important relationships that defines the security landscape in Northeast Europe—the US-Swedish relationship. It outlines opportunities for closer cooperation around a set of capabilities that would directly contribute to reinforced security around the Baltic Sea, as well as enhanced regional cooperation.