"Deterring the unthinkable: NATO’s role along the Eastern flank" Op-ed by Hans Binnendijk (F69, F72)

"As NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels next week to set the stage for the 2018 NATO summit, key issues will include defense burden-sharing and NATO’s role to the south in counterterrorism and refugee management. But strengthening deterrence to the East must remain the top priority for the alliance.

Russia's recent Zapad 2017 and related exercises demonstrate the country’s ability to rapidly deploy up to 100,000 troops near the Baltic states. While many observers doubt the Kremlin would boldly attack a NATO nation, Putin has an aggressive track record, and history is replete with comparable blunders. The stronger NATO’s deterrent posture, the lower the risk of a tragic miscalculation in Moscow.

NATO has improved its military posture in the three years since Russia annexed Crimea and initiated conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas. At the 2014 Wales Summit, NATO created a brigade-sized Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF, and small force integration unit designed to manage military reinforcement of Poland and the Baltic area. The U.S. separately forward-deployed four company-sized Army units."

Read the full op-ed in Defense News here.

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