NATO battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have been a success, according to ICDS research fellows Kalev Stoicescu and Pauli Järvenpää, presenting their recent report, “Contemporary Deterrence: Insights and Lessons from Enhanced Forward Presence”, to a full house on 1 February. “They are fully integrated into the land forces brigades and contribute to the self-defence capabilities of their host nations, the chain of command is clear and they are providing a deterrent presence.”
Only a small number of analyses shed light on the purpose of the NATO battlegroups and their impact not only on the host countries but also on NATO as a whole.
Stoicescu stressed the importance of the deterrence that the eFP had provided. “Russia has not attacked anybody in this region. I attribute this to the presence of the eFP battlegroups in these countries,” he said, referring to Russian aggression in Georgia and Ukraine.
According to Stoicescu and Järvenpää, in future the eFP must be fully backed by follow-on forces, whose reinforcement operations also need to be planned and regularly exercised. Greater coherence between the eFP and other forms of Allied presence in the region is also needed.
“If US troops aren’t in this region permanently, they should at least be on rotation,” Järvenpää noted. “Cooperation with Sweden and Finland is also increasing. I see possibilities for working closer together in sharing intelligence, dealing with hybrid warfare and providing resilience,” he added.