Defence Planning

France’s Nuclear-Weapons Policy: What’s in It for Europe?

French president Emmanuel Macron caused quite a stir with his recent statement¹ that France would not retaliate with nuclear weapons against Russia if the Kremlin launched a nuclear strike on Ukraine. A follow-on tweet² from his official Twitter account saying “we do not want a world war” only added to the backlash on social media. While this messaging was in line with that from other allies—and did not express any intention to abandon Ukraine for the sake of avoiding a nuclear war—it was widely interpreted as, at the very least, undermining deterrence³. Although some of the harsher reactions are quite misguided, the episode raises a legitimate question about whether the French nuclear deterrent carries much weight in protecting Europe as a whole from rogue nuclear regimes.

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10 Briefs on Russia’s War in Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine has undoubtedly been game-changing for Europe’s security, challenging the long-held beliefs and assumptions of many Western nations and prompting dramatic shifts in policy, for example, in Germany, Finland, and Sweden. The war’s conduct has also produced significant surprises, not least the unexpectedly poor performance of Russia’s supposedly reformed military.

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Russia’s War in Ukraine: Russian Military Logistics

In the third brief of the series, Dr Ronald Ti examines Russia’s failures in planning and executing logistics operations for its war in Ukraine. In large part, these failures can be attributed to systemic weaknesses such as its ‘push’ (rather than ‘pull’) approach to expeditionary logistics, overly centralised command, a lack of non-commissioned officers, and a culture of bullying and corruption.

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Preparing for Crises in Estonia: Improvement Options for Civilian Food and Emergency Goods Supplies

The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs commissioned the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) to compile a list of civilian food and emergency goods supplies, estimated average amounts of supplies at home and in stores, and calculations for the price of national emergency goods supplies and logistics.

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NATO’s presence in the Baltic states

In recent weeks, Estonia has seen an active discussion about NATO’s presence in the Baltic states. What type of presence do the Baltic states require? Is the current level enough, or should it increase? Should the deployed units be permanent or rotating? Do we need fully equipped units or are prepositioned stocks enough? Should the forces be deployed at significant or symbolic levels? Why should NATO continue to honour the 1997 Founding Act between NATO and Russia, if Russia itself no longer honours that agreement?

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Two Birds, One Stone

In early June, the Estonian government moved to launch negotiations with the US for the purchase of third-generation Javelin anti-tank missile systems. What might seem like merely a deal to replace somewhat obsolete equipment made back in the Cold War is actually quite significant for several reasons.

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Deploying Estonian forces in Africa – why is it necessary?

A leading article published in Eesti Päevaleht on 17 January 2014 laid out many arguments against a possible Estonian military mission in the Central African Republic. As in the case of all international operations, public debate on the topic is extremely positive and necessary. Estonia’s security policy decisions should not be made behind closed doors without meaningful discussions. The Eesti Päevaleht leader raises the question of why Estonia should send its Defence Forces troops to Africa. Does Estonian security have any tie-in with the unrest in central Africa? It’s an intriguing question, and at first glance it does appear to have an easy “no” answer.

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Steadfast Jazz 2013: Back to Basics

Since 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined NATO, the question of whether or not these three small countries – squeezed into a relatively narrow piece of land between the Baltic Sea and Russia – are defensible, has hung in the air.

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Who Defends Estonia’s Eastern Border?

Mikk Salu wrote about Estonia’s and Latvia’s defence capabilities in Postimees on November 6. The article presents to the public issues that have been discussed behind closed doors for several years, namely Latvia’s and Lithuania’s limited willingness and readiness to contribute to NATO’s collective defence efforts. Behind the scenes, the Estonians, together with NATO’s more influential member states and high-ranking officials, have drawn attention to this fact for years already.

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