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Development of the Baltic Armed Forces in Light of Multinational Deployments

Development of the Baltic Armed Forces in Light of Multinational Deployments - Cover

Authored by Dr. James S. Corum.

August 2013

60 Pages

Brief Synopsis

Developing coalition security strategies within NATO has never been easy. However, it does help to have a thorough understanding of one’s allies and their concerns and perspectives. This monograph provides an in-depth view of how three Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) view current and future security threats and likely problems. It also recommends some ways in which the United States might respond to these issues.


Coalition operations have been an important part of U.S. warfighting in the last decade of conflict. In the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan coalition partners, especially from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations, have played an important role. Given the ongoing instability in several regions of the world, there is a strong possibility that in the near future the U.S. Armed Forces will again have to operate with allied coalition partners to help support or rebuild a country devastated by internal conflict.

As the United States is likely to fight in a coalition with small allies in the future, so it is useful to understand the experience, capabilities, and perspectives of those allies. Since regaining independence in 1991, the countries of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania have been very active in supporting NATO and U.S. military operations abroad. It is notable that the three Baltic countries have also used the deployment of a significant part of their forces in the last decade as a major part of their program to carry out a major force transformation.

This monograph analyzes the experience of the armed forces of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (all NATO allies since 2004) in their participation as U.S. and NATO coalition partners in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Baltic nations provide a useful model of how overseas deployments can support a nation’s program of force transformation and development. This monograph also examines the frictions that have occurred in coalition deployments, especially in the areas of planning, training, logistics, and command, and offers suggestions on how some of the expected frictions might be reduced in future operations.

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