Pentagon drawing up plans for Baltic battlefield

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking at its plans to cope if armed conflict with Russia comes along - with one of the main scenarios envisaging the Baltic states including Latvia as a major battleground.


The information was produced by Julia Ioffe writing for the journal "Foreign Policy" and paints a disturbing picture of overall Russian military supremacy in the region with Pentagon planners and NATO scrambling to put together an effective defense plan.

"The new plans, according to one senior defense official familiar with the updated plans, have two tracks. One focuses on what the United States can do as part of NATO if Russia attacks one of NATO's member states; the other variant considers American action outside the NATO umbrella," the feature says.

"Both versions of the updated contingency plans focus on Russian incursions into the Baltics, a scenario seen as the most likely front for new Russian aggression. They are also increasingly focusing not on traditional warfare, but on the hybrid tactics Russia used in Crimea and eastern Ukraine: "little green men," manufactured protests, and cyberwarfare."

David Ochmanek, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for force development, was asked by the Pentagon to run simulations of a Baltic-theater conflict.

"The scenario was similar to the one that played out in Crimea and eastern Ukraine: increasing Russian political pressure on Estonia and Latvia, followed by the appearance of provocateurs, demonstrations, and the seizure of government buildings. 'Our question was: Would NATO be able to defend those countries?'" Ochmanek told Foreign Policy.

"The conclusion was that we are unable to defend the Baltics," he said.

Subsequent simulations provided slightly improved results but never a swift overall victory, leading to the conclusion that any armed conflict in the Baltics would be a messy, costly and long-drawn-out affair before NATO could restore the borders.

The full feature can be read here.

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