Assessing the Cold War’s New Front Line

Assessing the Cold War's New Front Line

Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation published the results of a series of wargames designed to test NATO’s ability to fulfill its Article V commitments to the Baltic states. The scenario posited a conventional Russian invasion of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – and concluded that in all circumstances, Russian forces would be poised to lay siege to each nation’s capital within 60 hours of a decision to employ force. No team playing the role of NATO was able to prevent such an outcome using available forces.

The RAND report added weight to those voices calling for NATO to move additional conventional forces into the Baltic in order to strengthen deterrence. At the recent NATO summit in Warsaw, the Alliance did just that.

In the run-up to the summit, and inspired by the RAND report, Wikistrat sought to contribute to the ongoing debate by providing additional insights and examining alternative interpretations of the report’s key elements.

In a red-teaming exercise entitled “Assessing the Cold War’s New Front Line”, 50 Wikistrat analysts from 20 countries – including Russia, Estonia, Moldova, Ukraine, the United States and Germany – identified key assumptions in the RAND report; examined whether any major assumption was open to an alternative interpretation; and supplemented the recommendations put forward in the RAND report with additional proposals.

This presentation contains Wikistrat’s findings:

  • RAND’s recommendation is geared to solving a particular problem – namely, a major Russian conventional assault. Yet it cannot be expected to effectively prevent the most likely option: a hybrid warfare campaign.
  • NATO can better deter such a campaign by inserting defensive equipment (e.g., anti-aircraft batteries) rather than offensive weapons which could be seen as provocative.
  • Integrating NATO units within Baltic force structures would be more effective than deploying standalone brigades comprised entirely of troops from individual NATO member countries.
  • NATO members need to signal in advance the economic costs that would accompany any Russian use of force.
  • Additional efforts are needed to both generate and signal resolve for the purposes of deterrence, rather than relying upon the deployment of additional capabilities.

Click here to download the presentation and learn more.

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