Baltics Left of Bang: The Role of NATO with Partners in Denial-Based Deterrence

By Robert M. Klein, Stefan Lundqvist, Ed Sumangil, and Ulrica Pettersson Strategic Forum 301

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Baltics Left of Bang: The Role of NATO with Partners in Denial-Based Deterrence
Baltics Left of Bang: The Role of NATO with Partners in Denial-Based Deterrence
Baltics Left of Bang: The Role of NATO with Partners in Denial-Based Deterrence
Photo By: NDU Press
VIRIN: 191107-D-BD104-001

Key Points 

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s military contribution to deter Russian aggression in the Baltic region should begin with an overall strategic concept that seamlessly transitions from deterrence through countering Russia’s gray zone activities and onto conventional war, only if necessary.

  • NATO should augment its ongoing program to enhance the denial-based deterrence for the region with threats of punishment that demonstrate to Russian leaders they cannot achieve their aims at acceptable costs.

  • Rather than forward-position military forces in the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), NATO should consider keeping forces further back to take advantage of strategic depth to limit vulnerability to Russian attack and increase operational flexibility.

  • To support the overall denial-based deterrence concept, the Baltics must commit wholeheartedly to the concept of total defense including significant increases to their active and reserves forces.

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