Strategy, Statecraft, Deterrence, and Defense

Today, the Center for European Policy (CEPA) releases its latest analytical report: “Securing The Suwałki Corridor: Strategy, Statecraft, Deterrence, and Defense.” Conducted under the auspices of CEPA Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, the report offers the most comprehensive analysis yet published on the Suwałki Corridor problem-set and presents actionable recommendations for both transatlantic policymakers and frontline practitioners.

The Suwałki Corridor, a 65-kilometer wide stretch of land between Belarus and Kaliningrad, is some of the most important territory within NATO’s borders. It is NATO’s physical link between the Baltic littoral to the north and the European plain to the south, containing only two narrow highways and one railway line. If Russian forces ever threatened the free movement of NATO personnel and equipment through it, land reinforcement of the Baltic States would be exceptionally difficult, and NATO’s credibility as a security guarantor could be seriously undermined. How should NATO defend it?

Drawing on extensive research, site visits, and roundtable discussions with senior experts from the United States and Europe, the report breaks new ground in assessing Suwałki as both an immediate security challenge and a greater strategic challenge for NATO’s Eastern Flank. It analyzes Moscow’s potential strategies and capabilities, Suwałki’s history and terrain, NATO’s force posture, and the political and military environment surrounding the region. Among the core findings: in order to better deter Russia, NATO must be able to more quickly recognize threats, increase its speed of decision-making, and accelerate the movement of reinforcements across operational lines and national borders.

Co-authored by CEPA’s Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, Senior Fellow Janusz Bugajski, and President Peter B. Doran, this report features actionable recommendations for leaders in Washington and Europe—in order to secure the Suwałki Corridor and beyond.



Photo: NATO

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July 9, 2018