Cold Warriors and Tomorrow's Battlefield: Defending the Baltics

By Michael Montemalo

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are a potential flashpoint for conflict between Russia and NATO. There is concern that the Baltic region is dangerously underprepared for a future Russian invasion. War gaming conducted by the Department of Defense and NATO militaries in conjunction with the RAND Corporation suggests that Russian military forces could capture the Baltic capitals of Riga and Tallinn within 72 hours of the start of a conflict. This study aims to ascertain why Russia would invade the region, how Russia could succeed, and how NATO could resolve a potential conflict and deter future aggression. NATO and the Baltic States are already on the right track to increase their conventional deterrence, but Russia remains the wild card that NATO must continue to balance.

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