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Tanks rolling in the field

Rethinking NATO defense strategies in Eastern Europe

Adapting to New Threats

October 2018, Number 08.04

“Is the United States military meeting its goals in Europe? The U.S. trains its military leaders to develop plans with achievable goals that can be measured. In this manner, resources can be allocated correctly, and the plan can be adapted as situations change.

In 2014, the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea dramatically altered the U.S. focus in Eastern Europe. The military goal is now deterring overt, hostile Russian military action in Europe. The U.S. Department of Defense defines deterrence as “the prevention of action by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction and/or belief that the cost of action outweighs the perceived benefits.”

For now, deterrence seems to have been achieved, because Russia has not moved overtly against any other European — much less NATO — country. There are a number of contributing factors to this successful deterrence, including the increased U.S. and NATO military presence in Eastern
Europe, and sanctions and other economic factors. Or, for now, Russia does not view the prospect of minor territorial and resource gains as worth risking another global war, though only Russian President Vladimir Putin knows for certain what Russia’s strategy is...”

Excerpt from Josh Passer, “Adapting to New Threats,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 8, No. 4, 2018: 46-49.

Major Josh Passer is an Artillery officer and Foreign Area Officer in the United States Army, specializing in European political, military, and security affairs.  He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008 and most recently worked in the Office of Defense Cooperation in Bucharest, Romania.  He worked at the George C. Marshall Center as a Regional Affairs Officer for Central and South East Europe from 2017 to 2019.  Major Passer is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and has a Master's degree in International Affairs from Virginia Tech.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.