Since 2014 the United States and NATO have undertaken tremendous efforts to enhance deterrence in the Baltic sea region. Complimenting improvements made by the Baltic states themselves, NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence and the United States’ European Deterrence Initiative both bring persistent allied presence to the region and demonstrate the Alliance’s resolve in the face of continued Russian aggression. Yet these deployments would not be possible without the robust Host Nation Support provided by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
While newspaper headlines and think tank publications often suggest analyzing NATO deterrence in the Baltic states in terms of raw firepower—how many tanks, how many surface-to-air missiles, how many soldiers are present in the region—the role of support from the Baltic states themselves is often overlooked. This Host Nation Support (HNS), the civil and military assistance provided to allied forces located on or transiting a nation’s territory, underpins Allied presence and, though difficult to quantify, has real deterrent value as well. Without adequate HNS, all of the other elements contributing to NATO defense and deterrence in the Baltic states could not carry out their mission, NATO’s strategy of deterrence by reinforcement would be defeated before it even could be implemented in a crisis, and the Baltic states would find themselves even more vulnerable to Russian aggression.
In Falling in: The deterrent value of Host Nation Support in the Baltic Sea region, lead authors Kathleen McInnis and Connor McPartland examine how HNS supporting NATO and US deployments to the region dramatically enhances the capability and credibility of the deterrent posture in the Baltic states—enabling key capabilities such as tanks, fighter aircraft, and electronic warfare units to be on NATO’s frontlines on a sustained basis while maintaining a high degree of readiness. The authors then assess the HNS necessary to support the Alliance’s strategy of rapid reinforcement to the region in the event of a crisis and offer a series of recommendations to policy planners in the Baltic states, at NATO, and in the United States for how to continue to improve this vital component of deterrence.
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Report Apr 22, 2020
Moving out: A comprehensive assessment of European military mobility
By Task Force Co-Chairs: General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, USA (Ret.) and Ambassador Colleen B. Bell
Military mobility is the logical and critical next step to enhancing the twenty-first-century conventional deterrence posture throughout Europe, an essential part of the formula for keeping the peace.
Report Feb 7, 2019
Permanent deterrence: Enhancements to the US military presence in North Central Europe
By Ambassador Alexander R. Vershbow (Ret.) and General Philip M. Breedlove, USAF (Ret.)
To provide an independent perspective, the Atlantic Council established a task force to assess the broader political and military implications of an enhanced US posture in North Central Europe. The report’s recommendations, guided by several key principles, are a result of the task force members’ agreement that enhancements to the US presence in the region could, and should, be undertaken to bolster deterrence and reinforce Alliance cohesion.
In-Depth Research & Reports Jun 2, 2020
Geometries of deterrence: Assessing defense arrangements in Europe’s northeast
By Hans Binnendijk, Conor Rodihan
Nations in Europe’s northeast cooperate through a variety of multilateral security and defense arrangements. “Geometries of Deterrence” assesses how these arrangements individually and collectively contribute to deterrence and defense in Northeastern Europe.
The Transatlantic Security Initiative, in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.