December 20, 2017

European Deterrence Initiative: Bolstering the Defence of the Baltic States

Estonian Defence Forces

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the FY18 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) into law.

The NDAA is an annual piece of federal legislation that broadly sets U.S. Department of Defence expenditure, and its contents are of particular relevance to the Baltic states. In addition to including a marked increase of funding for the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), previously known was the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), the law includes a one hundred-million-dollar fund for a joint-procurement project between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Since ERI’s launch in 2014, the programme has overseen the reintroduction of American rotational forces to NATO’s eastern flank, substantial infrastructure projects, training and exercises, and procurement projects. In tandem with NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) which coordinated the deployment of multinational battalions deployed to the Baltic states and Poland in 2017, EDI has contributed significantly to enhancing NATO’s deterrence posture.

Over the next year, the U.S. DoD will conduct a review of EDI and establish a five-year plan initiative. This will include an evaluation of potential joint-procurement efforts, infrastructure projects, as well as the future of U.S. rotational presence in the Baltic region.

This policy paper provides a history of the European Deterrence Initiative, identifies critical capability gaps, and offers recommendations for the future of EDI in the Baltic region.

Download: ICDS Policy Paper – European Deterrence Initiative: Bolstering the Defence of the Baltic States (PDF)