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Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

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  • Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1253.html

    Quite interesting study on how vulnerable Baltics are against possible Russian invasion. The 16-page document has interesting points on current situation and how it could be fixed.
    From Devastation - Knights Twilight Warhammer 40,000 Quest
    Rear Admiral Sander Van der Zee, Commander of Dutch Far East Theatre
    "There is never enough firepower!"

  • #2
    Originally posted by Senorankka View Post
    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1253.html

    Quite interesting study on how vulnerable Baltics are against possible Russian invasion. The 16-page document has interesting points on current situation and how it could be fixed.
    Seven brigades, three of which heavy, plus air and serious fire-support standing by on the spot. That's what? About 40 000 men + gear, including the heavy stuff?

    It certainly would up the ante for any eventual plan for military aggression against the Baltic states. It's not any kind of impossible amount for NATO, if it clubs together.

    Putting it in place likely would get a reaction as if it was military build-up in order to attack Russia though.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Johan Banér View Post
      Seven brigades, three of which heavy, plus air and serious fire-support standing by on the spot. That's what? About 40 000 men + gear, including the heavy stuff?
      ...
      When was the last time 40k men stopped Russia from doing anything?

      They are right that holding on to the ports and airbases is key, but only if NATO would be serious about getting involved.
      I doubt the resolve is there.

      I think a more Swiss solution is called for; a rifle in every home, heavier weapons in the basement of the town hall or shooting club, make home militias a Social Club sort of affair.
      And make it clear that Asymmetrical warfare will be the main feature from the very first moment of an attack.

      I really don't see any other way the Balts can stay independent.

      Comment


      • #4
        They'll stay independent because NATO has to defend them or it will cease to exist. If you NATO allows any member to be seen as not worth it or expendable then it will lose the faith of its members and disintegrate from within.
        "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
          When was the last time 40k men stopped Russia from doing anything?
          Need only a tripwire force to guarantee the involvement of the other member states. A sudden influx of 40k NATO dudes will be setting off alarms in Russia though so some kind of force status agreement for troop deployments on the borders would be good.

          Modest ground forces in the Baltic + Enormous deployment of air forces to central/eastern Poland. Enough to put down "little green men" in country with the Air power being in range to launch sorties inside baltic territory on very short notice. The problem will be that the only NATO country capable of taking on the Russian Air Forces if they committed to a major attack would be the US. IMO this is why the EU military integration needs to step up its game, with the short-mid term goal of creating a powerful EU Airforce for collective security. Armies can stay separate.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ThoseDeafMutes View Post
            Need only a tripwire force to guarantee the involvement of the other member states. A sudden influx of 40k NATO dudes will be setting off alarms in Russia though so some kind of force status agreement for troop deployments on the borders would be good.

            Modest ground forces in the Baltic + Enormous deployment of air forces to central/eastern Poland. Enough to put down "little green men" in country with the Air power being in range to launch sorties inside baltic territory on very short notice. The problem will be that the only NATO country capable of taking on the Russian Air Forces if they committed to a major attack would be the US. IMO this is why the EU military integration needs to step up its game, with the short-mid term goal of creating a powerful EU Airforce for collective security. Armies can stay separate.
            Sadly EU integration is a dream, there is no way different EU Nations are going to cooperate especially in this current economic and political situation. Along with most European nations have their militaries gimped (Germany and Benelux e.g). Only kind of Cooperation that could work is between nations that are neighbours like Poland+Lithuania or Finland+Sweden. Another problem against proper Eurocorps is NATO, as long as NATO exist no proper work to make yet another layer of defense agreements and handshaking can happen mainly because USA is backing them up.

            Easiest way of getting more out of the defense budgets in Baltics are simple. Conscription or formation of similar organization as Estonian Kaitseliit.
            From Devastation - Knights Twilight Warhammer 40,000 Quest
            Rear Admiral Sander Van der Zee, Commander of Dutch Far East Theatre
            "There is never enough firepower!"

            Comment


            • #7
              That's an interesting thought.

              If the US backed out of Europe and said that our commitment to NATO would be as a Response Force, and that we would no longer maintain a significant presence in a Europe that has been "At Peace and Capable of Self-Defense for over a Generation".....would it actually encourage the Euros to defend themselves? Or would they double down on spending the 'peace dividend' and find themselves wondering why so much of Europe falls under the Russian Policy of "If it was once part of Greater Russia, then we can 'liberate' it back into Russia for its own good"......
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                That's an interesting thought.

                If the US backed out of Europe and said that our commitment to NATO would be as a Response Force, and that we would no longer maintain a significant presence in a Europe that has been "At Peace and Capable of Self-Defense for over a Generation".....would it actually encourage the Euros to defend themselves? Or would they double down on spending the 'peace dividend' and find themselves wondering why so much of Europe falls under the Russian Policy of "If it was once part of Greater Russia, then we can 'liberate' it back into Russia for its own good"......
                This has very heavy 'Maybe' involved, first thing to happen would be that nations elect government that wants to invest in their militaries and Minister of Defense knows what he is doing (or does not and lets the top brass to run the show). If USA decides to withdraw their forces in Europe it would be wake up call to many nations, especially to Germany. Bundeswehr is in super bad shape.
                There is chance for European nations just continue doing what they where, which would be sad.

                Edit. The feel when FDF is in better shape than some NATO countries that spend multiple times the money into their forces.
                From Devastation - Knights Twilight Warhammer 40,000 Quest
                Rear Admiral Sander Van der Zee, Commander of Dutch Far East Theatre
                "There is never enough firepower!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  A weeks warning and Estonia fields only 5 (five?!?) batallions? They need to get their facts straight.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks very much for reading and discussing our report. A few quick observations:

                    1. We said the 3 Armored Brigades and 4 Infantry Brigades were the minimum force necessary to prevent the rapid fait accompli (i.e., lose the war in the first 3 days). We also said that NATO would need an additional counter-attack force to relieve early-entry forces and restore Baltic territorial integrity. We are still conducting additional war-games on multiple courses of action to determine the appropriate size of the counter-attack force. But so far, the "ball park" figure is another 9 European Armored brigades and 3 more US Armored brigades -- plus all of the headquarters, fires, aviation, engineers, ADA, MP, NBC, logistics units that make up the combined arms team.

                    2. I think the "Swiss solution" to improve Baltic "resiliency" is a good idea to counter irregular coercion (aka, "little green men") and it could buy some space and time to deploy NATO forces -- assuming they are postured and ready to fight. But I don't think a Baltic insurgency can drive the Russians out by themselves. There is no external safe haven like the Vietnamese enjoyed in Laos or the Mujahideen enjoyed in Pakistan. Plus they tried insurgency and lost after WW2.

                    3. The problem with thinking the current trip wire of ~1 company of US armor or infantry in each country will deter conflict is the length of the "wire": with every active component U.S. armored brigade permanently based in the U.S., it would take ~6 months to deploy decisive forces. I don't think it's realistic the US would restore to immediate vertical escalation (aka, nuclear strikes or even massive retaliation) from the outset of the conflict. Thus the "trip wire" would become hostages, prisoners or casualties without a larger force that can successfully deter by denial.

                    4. The effectiveness of US airpower in a Russia-Baltics scenario is limited by: (a) modern SA-21 SAMs with 400km range, (b) ineffective SEAD munitions that are still 1970's era technology, (c) available bases, and (d) realistic sortie rates. We had RAND airpower SMEs who were much more aggressive than the USAF players in our war-games, and there is still no "halt" phase. Plus it's only 135 miles from Pskov to Riga, so traveling at 5 mph (really slow) the Russian can still get to their objective in another ~27 hours after over-running the Baltic defense forces on the border.

                    5. There is no unilateral American solution to this problem. With defense cuts, the active Army has only 8 Armored brigades. Even if you ignored Korea and the Middle East and based them all in Europe, it's still not enough. Europe must step up, or the initial entry forces could be isolated and destroyed. Total approximate force mix in our preliminary analysis that includes the counter-attack would be 9 US and 10 European.

                    6. While the US has continued to implement defense cuts driven by sequestration, several European allies (UK, Poland, Baltic States) have actually increased their defense budgets to meet the NATO standard. With US leadership and a coherent plan, the European could step up. NATO has a 20:1 advantage in GDP over Russia. NATO has a $35 Trillion collective GDP. Thus meeting our recommended force levels is more a matter of political priorities, not economic affordability.

                    6. We noted the distinction between the Estonian infantry battalions and their territorial security forces. We just conducted another war-game in Britain this week with NATO allies including military planners Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It was fascinating to learn from their perspective.

                    Again thanks very much for reading and debating the report.

                    Cheers,
                    Michael W. Johnson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mjohnson View Post
                      4. The effectiveness of US airpower in a Russia-Baltics scenario is limited by: (a) modern SA-21 SAMs with 400km range, (b) ineffective SEAD munitions that are still 1970's era technology, (c) available bases, and (d) realistic sortie rates. We had RAND airpower SMEs who were much more aggressive than the USAF players in our war-games, and there is still no "halt" phase. Plus it's only 135 miles from Pskov to Riga, so traveling at 5 mph (really slow) the Russian can still get to their objective in another ~27 hours after over-running the Baltic defense forces on the border.

                      Could you elaborate on the ineffectiveness of SEAD?

                      A couple of related questions in general,

                      1) How plausible is it for a significant force buildup near the baltic states to go unnoticed?

                      2) How capable is low level missile defense (against e.g. cruise missiles) on the Russian side?
                      2.1) How easy is it for the Russians to deploy and conceal SA-21 et al launch sites and mobile launchers such that they could not be attacked from long range?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by String View Post
                        A weeks warning and Estonia fields only 5 (five?!?) batallions? They need to get their facts straight.
                        Yeah i checked and Estonia is pretty well armerd for its size. They all so have a paramilitary force. They could at full strength including permant, reserve and paramilitary field all most 80 thousand troops. More than south africa and we have 50 times the population.
                        you think you a real "bleep" solders you "bleep" plastic solders don't wory i will make you in to real "bleep" solders!! "bleep" plastic solders

                        CPO Mzinyati

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                        • #13
                          Good questions!

                          Short answer is, all services value platforms more than munitions. USAF has the F-22 but still relies on the HARM developed in the 1970s. USN prefers carriers and short-range tax air, not SEAD. USA has recapitalized M1A2 and M2A3 but not pursued long-range missiles and rocket artillery that could help. In partial defense of the services, DoD has not directed the services to deter/defeat Russia since 1991 when we assumed Russia was a strategic partner who shared our goal of Europe whole and free. The Army was focused on regional powers or CT/COIN in Iraq & Afghanistan where we enjoyed air dominance.

                          Longer, better answers: search the RAND website and others for formal reports on this problem.

                          There is a big debate about improving posture right now. Some like us argue the best way to preserve peace is to be prepared for war, that is, deterrence. Others argue the best way to preserve peace is to avoid provoking Russia. Of course if we followed this strategy prescription during the Cold War, we would have left West Germany completely defenseless to avoid provoking the Soviets but promised to take 6-9 months to deploy the Army to France and counter-attack. Would that have been credible?

                          That said, the Russians will notice, but they are already trying to improve their defense posture and modernization as fast as their resources allow. It may provoke political or economic coercion in response. But 3 armored brigades is not an offensive threat to 9-18 brigades in the Western Military District, backed up by a huge advantage in long-range artillery, double-digit SAMs, and a quick finger on the nuclear trigger. Thus there is no imperative for Russia to launch a pre-emptive attack. Personally, I think the Russians expected NATO to respond to their invasion of Ukraine by shoring up our defenses and took a lack of action heretofore as evidence of decadence.

                          Theater missile defense is hard for everyone, especially if the adversary can overwhelm with mass as opposed to a single shot from North Korea.

                          The mobile "shoot & scoot" long-range double-digit SAMs is the problem. We are working on a joint and combined arms response that basically has more sensors and faster fires with longer ranges and better munitions from all services and European allies.

                          Cheers,
                          Mike

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                          • #14
                            Estonia has Conscription. Did the ANC disband the Commando system? I had thought the South Africans now rely on Volunteers?

                            Pruitt
                            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                            • #15
                              Would a NATO counterattack have to be limited to the Baltic area? Russia us a big place and an attack elsewhere e.g. in the south with Turkish support my draw off Russian rescources.

                              Plus could a cruise missile hit the Kremlin?
                              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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