On 10 June 2016, the ICDS had the pleasure of hosting a visit by the Jamestown Foundation board delegation in their week-long fact-finding trip to Germany and the Baltic States. The delegation was headed by former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who is also a member of the Jamestown Board. Other participants on the trip included Jamestown board members, private businessmen, as well as several experts on Baltic and international security issues, including Mr. Glen Howard, President of the Jamestown Foundation.
A round-table discussion with the ICDS experts centered around Russia’s aggressive actions in the Baltic Sea region, including surprise snap exercises, informational warfare, economic blockades, energy security, and cyber defense issues. Russia’a potential influence over the ethnic-Russian or Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltics was also discussed. The Baltic states need to still do more to bolster their own defense, and in the future they should pay serious attention to the tools at their disposal to provide deterrence by denial, i.e. using their military forces, especially their voluntary defense organizations with a capability to slow down and wear out Russian forces should they attack any or all the Baltic States. During the discussion it became clear that the threats facing NATO’s eastern flank are multi-faceted and challenging. It was also agreed by the discussants that the U.S. leadership will continue to be crucial to deterring Russia in the Baltic Sea region.