This Letort Paper analyzes the drivers of assertive military action by Russia, as exemplified by interventions in Ukraine and Syria. It identifies key turning points in Russia’s perception of external threat, and the roots of Russian responses to this threat making use of a capacity for military, political, and diplomatic leverage that has been greatly enhanced in the current decade. Color revolutions, the Arab Spring, and Western intervention in Libya are all highlighted as key influencers leading to a Russian assessment that the developments in Ukraine and Syria presented direct security challenges to Russia, which needed to be addressed through direct action. This Letort Paper concludes with a range of policy recommendations intended to mitigate the risk of confrontation with Russia through an imperfect understanding of Russian security perspectives.
Since its occupation of Crimea, Russia has adopted an aggressive and often belligerent approach to the nations on its borders. The on-going war against Ukraine and its occupation of large portions of Georgian territory demonstrates this increasingly hostile foreign policy. However, far more dangerous to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the Kremlin's use of a strategy of ambiguity. In this, Moscow keeps hostilities at a low boil, leveraging a Russian diaspora, a web of complex information-campaign-trolls, to stir ethnic unrest that has the potential to destroy NATO and end the unparalleled post-World War II peace experienced in Europe. Yet, there are actions that the United States and NATO can take to prevent Russian aggression from turning into a war and Project 1721 provides the answers to this complex and dangerous security dilemma.
The development of cyberspace defense capabilities for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been making steady progress since its formal introduction at the North Atlantic Council Prague Summit in 2002. Bolstered by numerous cyber attacks, such as those in Estonia (2007), Alliance priorities were formalized in subsequent NATO cyber defense policies adopted in 2008, 2011, and 2014.
This monograph examines the past and current state of cyberspace defense efforts in NATO to assess the appropriateness and sufficiency to address anticipated threats to member countries, including the United States. The analysis focuses on the recent history of cyberspace defense efforts in NATO and how changes in strategy and policy of NATO writ large embrace the emerging nature of cyberspace for military forces as well as other elements of power. It first examines the recent evolution of strategic foundations of NATO cyber activities, policies, and governance as they evolved over the past 13 years. Next, it outlines the major NATO cyber defense mission areas, which include NATO network protection, shared situational awareness in cyberspace, critical infrastructure protection, counter-terrorism, support to member country cyber capability development, and response to crises related to cyberspace. Finally, it discusses several key issues for the new Enhanced Cyber Defence Policy that affirms the role that NATO cyber defense contributes to the mission of collective defense and embraces the notion that a cyber attack may lead to the invocation of Article 5 actions for the Alliance.
This monograph concludes with a summary of the main findings from the discussion of NATO cyberspace capabilities and a brief examination of the implications for Department of Defense and Army forces in Europe. Topics include the roles and evolution of doctrine, deterrence, training, and exercise programs, cooperation with industry, and legal standards.
Russia's actions in Ukraine are not the only challenge to relations with the United States. U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense (BMD) capability in Europe have led to aggressive rhetoric from Moscow, which continues at the time of this writing even though attention in the West is focused almost exclusively on Ukraine. Russia’s strenuous opposition to the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach plans is based on claims that this capability is intended to compromise Russia’s nuclear deterrent capability. Most of these claims have been dismissed as groundless. Yet, all discussion of the subject highlights the U.S. current and proposed deployments, and entirely ignores Russia’s own missile interception systems, which are claimed to have comparable capability. Russia protests that U.S. missiles pose a potential threat to strategic stability, and has made belligerent threats of direct military action to prevent their deployment. But no mention at all is made of the strategic implications of Russia’s own systems, despite the fact that if the performance and capabilities claimed for them by Russian sources are accurate, they pose at least as great a threat to deterrence as do those of the United States. This monograph aims to describe Russia’s claims for its missile defense systems, and, where possible, to assess the likelihood that these claims are true. This will form a basis for considering whether discussion of Russian capabilities should be an integral part of future conversations with Russia on the deployment of U.S. and allied BMD assets.
NATO used to be the world’s most formidable military alliance. But its original reason for existence, the Soviet Union, disintegrated years ago, and its dreams of being a world cop are withering in the mountains of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the European Union’s (EU) Common Security & Defense Policy (CSDP) has deployed 27 successful military/civil missions from Africa to Asia in the last 10 years. Through CSDP, Europeans are increasingly taking charge of managing their own foreign and security policy. NATO is no longer the sole and preeminent Euro-Atlantic security actor. But watching NATO fade into irrelevance would be a mistake. It is a tried and true platform to harness the resources of North America and Europe. NATO’s future usefulness depends on its willingness to accept its reduced role, to let the EU handle the day-to-day security needs of Europe, and to craft a relationship with CSDP that will allow North America and Europe to act militarily together, should that ever become necessary. It is time for NATO 2.0, a new version of NATO, to fit the realities of an ever more integrated Europe in the 21st century.