Russian Rear Area Operations and the Resistance Operating Concept

Russian Rear Area Operations and the Resistance Operating Concept
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

In 2014, the politico-military face of Europe changed considerably after the Russian
Anschluss of Crimea and its follow-on subversion of, and incursion into, eastern Ukraine. While
some decried Russia for “acting in a 19 th -century fashion”, it became clear to many eastern and
central European states, NATO members and non-members alike, that their 21 st century security
challenges now could include invasion and occupation by the Russian Federation. Nowhere in
NATO was this challenge felt more acutely than in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania. They had regained their sovereignty after the fall of the Soviet Union, but
unfortunately also regained the same geopolitical challenges to their security that they faced
during their interwar existence – limited territory providing no strategic depth and a small
population unable to generate conventional military forces that could deter a Kremlin hostile to
their independence.


In response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, NATO took specific steps to increase
Baltic security. Since 2017, four multinational battlegroups totaling approximately 4,500 troops
have been deployed to the Baltic states and Poland to serve as a proportionate deterrent force and
to send a clear message that an attack on one would be met by troops from across the alliance. 1
NATO has improved its security posture in the Baltics through multiple deployments and
exercises and by investing in infrastructure and pre-positioned forces via the European
Deterrence Initiative.

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