After they had emerged as national republics in 1918, the Baltic states spent the first hundred years of their independence as small, isolated, poorly defended countries that sought to foster their national identity nonetheless. Geopolitically speaking, they had little influence on their environment, rather constituting an area of geopolitical interests of other states. The geopolitical visions of the 21st century picture them as part of an integrated Euro-Atlantic space with good potential to become members of the centre of power that is currently taking shape in Central Europe or provide a strong Western European border next to the weakening Russia. The 21st century will be the age of US leadership, putting the Baltic states, as allies to the US, in a safer position than they were in the last century.
This study traces and contrasts two parallel processes: the development of Lithuanian security culture since the country’s independence in 1990, and the evolution of NATO’s relation to nuclear weapons since the collapse of the Soviet Union. While Lithuania has historically been a vocal advocate for NATO shoring up defences vis-à-vis Russia, the nuclear nature of NATO’s deterrent has largely escaped the public discourse. Lacking historical traditions of open public discussion on matters of defence and security, the gap between Lithuania’s foreign and domestic discourse had only started to close in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukraine conflict. Narratives surrounding this watershed event also differ dramatically: for NATO it marked the end of the non-proliferation and arms reduction era, while Lithuania focused on the role of Russian militias and failed to take note of the changes in NATO’s nuclear stance. As NATO dusts off classical nuclear deterrent doctrines, posturing in the new geopolitical environment, the limited ability of Eastern European member states like Lithuania to adequately participate in these debates risks subsequently undermining the utility of the agreed concepts and eventually – chipping away at alliance unity. A Lithuanian case study offers insights into the security culture challenges common among NATO’s Eastern European members and partners – acknowledging and understanding them can help identify the building blocks needed to get more of these countries on-board as effective creators of a collective security environment.
The article provides the information on Lithuania’s military contribution to the assurance of international security and stability – the participation of the military personnel of the Republic of Lithuania (further – RL) in international operations and training missions of the European Union in 2004–2017. The study briefly familiarizes the reader with legal principles of participating in international operations and presents essential restrictions affecting the number of military personnel participating in international operations. The author of the article thoroughly analyses the change in the number of troops of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in international operations conducted by NATO, the European Union, the United Nations, and other strategic partners in 2004–2017. The military contribution of Lithuania is provided within the context of joint military operations carried out by NATO, the EU, and the UN, the tendencies of the change in the participation of the Lithuanian military personnel in international operations are presented as well. Keeping in mind the change in the resources (financial and human) allocated and available to the National Defence System of the RL and the political will to participate in international operations, expressed by the Seimas of the RL, the author attempts to find out, on the grounds of historical perspective, their potential connection with and influence on the Lithuanian military contribution to future international operations.
The end of the Cold War marks a changed nature of conflicts – in the modern world, asymmetric wars, counter-insurgencies and counter-terrorism are not only highly relevant threats but also the ones that require perhaps the greatest need for the knowledge of cultural factors. Though the significance of cultural and religious knowledge during international operations is ever more strongly acknowledged, however, the absence of the standardization of cultural awareness of military personnel at NATO level leaves the area of cultural awareness teaching of military personnel participating in international operations the responsibility of national states. This, in turn, exercises influence on countries working in a joint coalition while interpreting, in a different way, the military personnel’s cultural awareness and need for it during international operations. The article surveys the diversity of cultural awareness terms and concepts in both academic and military contexts. At the same time, making use of the model of cultural awareness competences formulated by Allison Abbe, the author analyses the manifestation of cultural awareness in the military doctrines and other documents regulating the activity of the armed forces and military service of major NATO states and Lithuania. Lithuania and three major NATO states – the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada – which have institutionalized cultural awareness teaching of military personnel, have been chosen as the object of the analysis. In this comparative context, the analysis of the Lithuanian case becomes a critical one: it enables one to compare and assess the contribution of a national state to the cultural development of military personnel in the context of major NATO states.
The study analyses, in both theoretical and practical aspects, the topic of hybrid warfare and threats that have become particularly relevant after Russia’s war in Ukraine. First, the authors examine the theoretical debates, concerning the definition of hybrid threats by singling out its main elements and estimating, on their basis, the definitions used by the European Union and NATO. Second, on the grounds of examples of the Baltic states and specifically of Lithuania, the article presents practical challenges related to hybrid threats and posed by Russia. Finally, the study surveys the decisions taken during recent years at the level of Lithuania, the European Union, and NATO with the exception of essential measures in fighting against hybrid threats.
This current study aims to assess the credibility of the deterrence posture provided by NATO in avoiding Russia’s potential aggression against the Baltic countries; what could the aggression scenarios look like; what should be done to increase the credibility of NATO’s deterrence strategy and the ability of the Baltic countries to employ additional deterrence instruments. The focus of the analysis is on four components: capability (both nuclear and conventional military capabilities), communication, cohesion, and interdependence/acceptance of norms. In this way, the authors build-up their own framework to cover both the physical capabilities of potential parties to the conflict and behaviouralethical aspects related to the current security environment. The article demonstrates the challenges for the Alliance’s deterrence strategy and makes several suggestions of how to increase the credibility of NATO’s deterrence strategy to avoid Russia’s potential aggression.
At the political level, organised crime has long been regarded as a threat to national security. However, real urgency of this threat has not been defined. Why is this issue “securitised”? Or, in general, should it be included in the list of the most prominent threats? Maybe this phenomenon should be considered as a typical problem that would be resolved by usual means? The article aims to find answers to these questions. Organised crime is analysed by comparing the perspectives of both Lithuania and the European Union. It is sought to evaluate its impact on economic and social values. In this work, the author examined the European Union and national strategic documents identifying the threats posed by organised crime, assessed organised crime groups, their spheres of activity, impact on social security, the factors determining the peculiarities of organised crime development, and revealed the link between organised crime and other threats. The objectives of this article are: 1) to analyse threats posed by organised crime from the Lithuanian and European Union perspectives; 2) to examine structures of organised criminal groups, areas of illicit activities, so-called ‘engines of crime’, and the main ‘crime enablers’ influencing the evolution of criminality;1 3) to assess new challenges and propose specific measures of response towards organised crime as a threat to national security. The author applies systematic evaluation, comparative methods, and analysis of documents and judicial practice. The information derived from interviews with civil servants and operational officers is presented as well.
All Zapad exercises which took place after the collapse of the former Soviet Union (in 1999, 2009, 2013 and 2017) attracted the attention of neighboring countries and led to different estimates and conclusions. Every exercise had something particular happening which could not be explained or understood in the West. Step by step, while analyzing Zapad exercises and changes in Russia and its armed forces, sufficient information was gathered allowing for the partial explanation of the behavior of Russian forces during different exercises, and the reasons why they acted in such a manner.
Contrary to NATO and a majority of Western countries, the Russian military plans and executes military activities differently. This could be explained by the czarist and Soviet military giving preference to Prussian General Staff (GS) traditions and philosophy. The General Staff, which advocated its own methods, allowed the national leadership to manage and use military instruments more effectively. The recent Russian military tends to keep those traditions alive, while believing that modern technological progress could reduce (if not eliminate) the weaknesses of the Prussian GS philosophy and increase its stronger aspects. The Russian military believes that detailed operation planning in advance, with synchronization of actions in its core and the ability of forces to implement plans and the leadership to control and command an entire operation can turn the military into an effective fighting and foreign policy tool.
Zapad exercises have shown that they are used to test the concept and planning of a potential Russian war with a strong opponent in the West (Zapad operation). The concept and plan are both backed up with adequate assumptions. An entire operation (war) is planned to be waged in three stages. The essence of the war (and plan) is a synchronization of military actions in time and space. Since 1999, all of this has been tested, in the earlier years in separate stages, and during Zapad 2017 tests were carried out in a more complex way and covered all three stages.
It is worth to note that at least two times (in 2009 and 2017), Russia used Zapad exercises not only to test its plans and troops, but as a deception and strategic communication message as well. It appears that in both cases, some success was achieved.
This article analyses the Russian concept of contemporary warfare after the 2008 Russia–Georgia war and the changes that have occurred in the wake of the 2014 military conflict in Eastern Ukraine. This concept is shaped through a dissection of public texts and speeches by Russian military officers, experts and analysts. The article attempts to measure the impact of Russia’s military practice in Eastern Ukraine in its stance on contemporary warfare and see what new types of warfare (terminologically speaking) are appearing in Russia’s military vocabulary. A vision of the future of types of Russian war is presented, complete with arguments regarding the most plausible case of future local war with respect to Russia. The article furthermore provides a detailed analysis of the interpretations of asymmetrical, network-centric, hybrid warfare, colour revolutions, controlled chaos, and information and electromagnetic warfare in Russia’s military thought, which is understood as forms of realisation of contemporary warfare. A quest for the origin of these warfare ideas shows that Russia tends to emulate the military experience of western powers, the US in particular, instead of doing the opposite and acting adaptively and conceptualising its most recent military experience as a vision of modern warfare.