Military Affairs Strategic Thinking

The NATO 2022 Strategic Concept Implications for the Baltics: Correcting the course, but still missing the point

Adapt Institute

The text discusses the most significant impacts of the NATO 2022 Madrid Summit from the perspective of expectations, ambitions and realistically achieved results for the Baltic countries. Due to Russia’s unprovoked and brutal aggression against Ukraine, these three republics were particularly vocal in advocating the new alliance military posture within their territories; however, the commitments made at the summit fell short of fulfilling their maximalist demands. The first part of the text reflects on the newly adopted Strategic Concept, the latest iteration of the Alliance’s top strategic document, highlighting its “mental shift” towards the original purpose of the Alliance – collective deterrence and defence. The next part summarizes the strengthening of NATO’s military presence on the Eastern flank and also discusses the commitments made by the Madrid Summit towards this region, especially towards the Baltic countries. The author argues that the preservation of the current “tripwire posture” within the enhanced Forward Presence was a mistake and sides with Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in advocating for the deployment of an all-army brigade to each of the three Baltic republics. At the same time, he calls for the rapid development and adoption of strategies for the comprehensive development of military infrastructure and response force deployment in the region, especially in connection with the upcoming admission of Sweden and Finland to the Alliance. Beyond that, the paper also discusses current priorities in military procurements in all three Baltic states and some other ideas for military defence, resilience against hybrid interferences, and deterrence (both conventional and nuclear) enhancements. It concludes with a list of generally-oriented policy recommendations.

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“The NATO 2022 Strategic Concept Implications for the Baltics: Correcting the course, but still missing the point” – Adam Potočňák