Publications

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Russia’s military modernization and aggressive behavior continues to threaten the security of NATO’s frontline Allies, the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Russia’s proximity to these states and their distance from other NATO Allies presents the Alliance with a fundamental problem: if a crisis were to erupt with little warning in the Baltic States, NATO reinforcements may not be able to arrive quickly enough to stop a rapid Russian advance. At the same time, the Baltic States’ small size and relatively small budgets limit the level of defense investments they can make. How then, can the Baltic States put their resources to best use to defend their territory and deter Russia?
In “The Melians’ Revenge” Dr. T.X. Hammes advocates for a novel approach to defense investment in the Baltic States, harnessing emerging , high-tech, low cost systems to present Russia with a complex defense of inexpensive autonomous drones, missiles, and ubiquitous improvised explosive devices. When supported by other NATO nations’ forward-deployed units, cruise missiles, and long-range autonomous drones, this defense can present the Russian bear with an indigestible porcupine.
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As NATO reaches its seventieth anniversary in 2019, the Alliance is facing new challenges both externally and internally. The reemergence of Russia as a strategic threat has led to the reexamination of NATO’s warfighting capabilities and the gaps that exist to adequately defend and deter. At the same time, both renewed US focus and the emergence of new security threats have placed increased pressure on member states to reach established spending targets.

The need to outfit and equip NATO for great power competition, as well as increased pressure to invest more in defense, provides an opportunity to strengthen NATO for the future. Yet the path forward is still unclear. What investments should be prioritized in the land, air, maritime, space and cyber domains? And how should the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent be modernized?

In NATO at Seventy: Filling NATO’s Critical Defense-Capability Gaps Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow Dr. Wayne A. Schroeder offers a comprehensive menu of options for the Alliance to shape its investments in these critical areas and ensure that NATO retains its fighting mindset well past its seventieth anniversary in 2019.

The report features a foreword by Air Marshall Sir Chris Harper KBE, former director general of the International Military staff at NATO (2013-16).


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As a great power competition with Russia plays out in Europe, the United States and its Allies in NATO must reassess the role and importance of the air domain to transatlantic security. While NATO has made notable strides in strengthening defense and deterrence in the land domain, more must be done in the air domain. Reemerging adversaries, including Russia, continue to invest in advanced assets and pursue strategies and risky behavior that test the Alliance and its ability to respond. Russia also poses significant challenges to allied air superiority, including A2/AD networks in Northern Europe, over the Black Sea, and in the Eastern Mediterranean that have the potential to limit allied access to these regions. While the United States and its NATO Allies and partners have enjoyed three decades of air supremacy, the pendulum is now swinging in the other direction. This could have real implications in a potential crisis.
In the latest issue brief from the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Transatlantic Security Initiative, General Frank Gorenc, USAF (Ret.) maps out the challenges facing NATO—those posed by Russia and those stemming from gaps in Allied capabilities—and provides a series of recommendations for NATO to improve its posture in the air domain as a means to ensuring stability in Europe.


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North Central Europe has become the central point of confrontation between the West and a revisionist Russia. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is determined to roll back the post-Cold War settlement and undermine the rules-based order that has kept Europe secure since the end of World War II. Moscow’s invasion and continued occupation of Georgian and Ukrainian territories, its military build-up in Russia’s Western Military District and Kaliningrad, and its “hybrid” warfare against Western societies have heightened instability in the region have made collective defense and deterrence an urgent mission for the United States and NATO.

The United States and NATO have taken significant steps since 2014 to enhance their force posture and respond to provocative Russian behavior. Despite these efforts, the allies in North Central Europe face a formidable and evolving adversary, and it is unlikely that Russian efforts to threaten and intimidate these nations will end in the near term. Now, ahead of NATO’s seventieth anniversary there is more that can be done to enhance the Alliance’s deterrence posture in the region. Against this backdrop, the government of Poland submitted a proposal earlier this year offering $2 billion to support a permanent US base in the country. While negotiations are ongoing, the issue is fundamentally about what the United States and NATO need to do to defend all of Europe.


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North Central Europe has become the central point of confrontation between the West and a revisionist Russia. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is determined to roll back the post-Cold War settlement and undermine the rules-based order that has kept Europe secure since the end of World War II. Moscow’s invasion and continued occupation of Georgian and Ukrainian territories, its military build-up in Russia’s Western Military District and Kaliningrad, and its “hybrid” warfare against Western societies have heightened instability in the region have made collective defense and deterrence an urgent mission for the United States and NATO.

The United States and NATO have taken significant steps since 2014to enhance their force posture and respond to provocative Russian behavior. Despite these efforts, the allies in North Central Europe face a formidable and evolving adversary, and it is unlikely that Russian efforts to threaten and intimidate these nations will end in the near term. Now, ahead of NATO’s seventieth anniversary there is more that can and should be done to enhance the Alliance’s deterrence posture in the region. In this vein, the government of Poland submitted a proposal earlier this year offering $2 billion to support a permanent US base in the country.
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The maritime domain is increasingly a priority for NATO as the alliance seeks to bolster its defense and deterrence posture in Europe’s north and east. Much work remains to be done in terms of NATO’s maritime posture and the maritime capabilities and capacities of its members. The maritime domain presents a unique challenge for NATO’s Baltic members, as they are frontline states in the new contest between NATO and a revanchist Russia. This issue brief lays out the particular challenges for the Baltic States in the maritime domain in the Baltic Sea region, and how Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuanian can build more effective maritime defense in concert with NATO and the United States.
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The buildup and threatening exercise of Russian conventional forces has been an important component of Russia’s multifaceted anti-Western campaign. NATO has the inherent capacity to deter, or if necessary prevail in, a conventional conflict. Its forces, however, while large, are currently neither adequately ready nor oriented to ensure that such deterrence is fully credible or that a warfighting campaign could be promptly successful. This report proposes that NATO should enhance its deterrent and warfighting posture in Europe by adopting at the 2018 NATO Summit the strategy of “Effective Deterrence by Prompt Reinforcement,” specifically in reference to Russian activities that have increased the conventional challenge to the Alliance. Key components of the strategy include a readiness initiative, enhanced intelligence, rapid decision-making, prompt reinforcement by United States and European ground and air forces, expanded maritime capabilities, integration of highly capable cyber nations’ capacities, and establishment of an integrated plan for the multi-domain defense of Europe.
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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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 crisis.

 


    

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