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LMC 2021

Respice, Adspice, Prospice: Examine the Past, Examine the Present, Examine the Future

CEPA’s latest report addresses the defence and security problems of the Baltic Sea region: the region most at risk of direct attack from Russia and, from a military point of view, a single operational environment.


Rajmund Andrzejczak

Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces

Carl Bildt

Co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Keith Blount

Commander, NATO Allied Maritime Command

Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Leading Researcher, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Jonatan Vseviov

Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia


Ben Hodges

Former Commander of US Army Europe, FBH Geostrat Consulting GmbH 

Though the combined forces of NATO, or even of just NATO’s European Allies, greatly exceed Russia’s, Russia has strengthened its quantitative and qualitative advantage in the Baltic Sea region.  According to one informed estimate, Russia could muster around 125,000 ground troops in 14 days while Poland, the region’s military heavyweight, could perhaps muster 40,000 troops in 10 days, But Poland would be reluctant to act alone: political and military support from NATO Allies, chiefly the US and the UK, would be vital. The reliability of reinforcement depends on repeated realistic exercising, which is currently lacking.

Russia has also honed its capabilities for sub-threshold warfare, lately known as ‘hybrid’ or ‘gray zone’ warfare. Continuing ‘near-miss’ aviation and naval manoeuvres, snap exercises, cyber-attacks, and harassment of civilian infrastructure projects deliver military and psychological effects.

A combination of stronger security cultures, greater national capabilities, and more credible involvement of regional partners and Allies beyond the region has improved NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in the Baltic region. It is hard to identify a period in recent history when national efforts and regional security ties have been stronger. But much remains to be done—not just for regional security:  Europe’s stability and NATO’s credibility are at stake.

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