NATO’s Eastern Flank is the longest and perhaps the most vulnerable sector of the Alliance, exposed daily to military probing, subversion, disinformation, cyberattacks, and overt diplomatic and economic pressure by the Kremlin. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Alliance prioritized the Baltic Sea region where several NATO Allies share a border with Russia. NATO deployed “enhanced Forward Presence” (eFP) Battle Groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland while settling for “tailored Forward Presence” (tFP) in the Black Sea region. This tiered approach to deterrence capabilities created a degree of incoherence along the Eastern Flank, leaving a gap in the Black Sea region, putting strains on the cohesion of the Alliance, and exposing NATO to continued aggressive probing from Russia.

CEPA’s latest report “One Flank, One Threat, One Presence: A Strategy for NATO’s Eastern Flank” lays out a comprehensive Eastern Flank strategy to address the threats and challenges in both the Baltic and Black Sea regions. CEPA hosted a virtual event to launch this groundbreaking report and to discuss Moscow’s revisionist objectives along NATO’s Eastern Flank, recommendations to enable the rapid political and military reactions necessary to deter the Kremlin’s aggression, and the new challenges the coronavirus pandemic poses to the Alliance’s defense investment and cohesion.

ModeratorLauren Speranza, Director, Transatlantic Defense and Security, CEPA

SpeakersJanusz Bugajski, Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Defense and Security, CEPA


Media Contact: Christina Brown at or (202) 601-4148.Photo: "Exercise Sea Breeze 2019," by NATO under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Lauren Speranza

LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges

Janusz Bugajski