CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS :

The Russian deployment of asymmetric tactics represents a new challenge to NATO. Events in Ukraine demonstrate in particular Russia’s ability to effectively paralyse an opponent in the pursuit of its interests with a range of tools including psychological operations, information warfare and intimidation with massing of conventional forces. Such operations may be designed to slip below NATO’s threshold for reaction. In many circumstances, such operations are also deniable, increasing the difficulties for an adversary is mounting a credible and legitimate response. (Paragraph 29)

The UK and NATO’s capacity to respond

2.  We believe that the Armed Forces needs to ensure that its training covers all types of warfare and responses to threats beyond counter insurgency actions. For instance, has the wide-wet gap crossing capacity been preserved? (Paragraph 44)

3.  The failure of national military forces to provide sufficient staff resources has left NATO command structures depleted. It is disappointing that the UK is continuing to fail to fill the posts expected of it. (Paragraph 50)

4.  We recommend that the UK (and US) practice the deployment of forces at least to divisional scale to Poland and the Baltic States via Germany. (Paragraph 51)

5.  We recommend that the NATO Summit sets out plans to ensure: (Paragraph 52)

·  dramatic improvements to the existing NATO rapid reaction force; and

·  the re-establishment of large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States. These exercises must involve both military and political decision-makers.

6.  The willingness, ability and readiness to act against common threats are vital for the future existence of NATO. This requires a collective view of Russian actions and possible responses should the situation in Ukraine worsen or repeat itself in a NATO country. The absence of a collective view risks perpetrating the Russian perception that NATO is divided and lacks the political will to respond to aggression, undermining NATO’s deterrent posture. (Paragraph 65)

7.  We recommend that the NATO Summit sets out plans to ensure: (Paragraph 66)

·  the pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States;

·  a continuous (if not technically ‘permanent’) presence of NATO troops, on exercise in the Baltic.

·  the establishment of headquarters structures, at divisional and corps level to focus on Eastern Europe and the Baltic

·  consideration of the reestablishment of a NATO standing reserve force along the lines of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force-Land, involving all Member States.

8.  The combination of substantial Russian minorities (which constitute a majority in some areas) and the influence of the Russian media could make Estonia and Latvia in particular vulnerable to the type of information warfare and inciting of disturbances that have caused such chaos in Ukraine. (Paragraph 69)

9.  We recommend that NATO is tasked and mandated to plan, train and exercise for a cyber attack to ensure the necessary resilience measures are in place. The use of asymmetric warfare tactics present a substantial challenge to a political military alliance such as NATO. These tactics are designed to test the lower limit of the Alliance’s response threshold, are likely to involve deniable actors, and work to exploit political division. They also bring in to question the operation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, NATO’s cornerstone. (Paragraph 86)

10.  Russia’s actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine illustrate the immediate (although not the only) reasons for reconsideration of Article 5 in relation to’deniable’ actions. Cyber attacks—where attribution is often difficult but of central importance before any offensive targeted responses are considered—will increase. The use of airliners hijacked for attacks in New York and the Pentagon in the USA in 2001 were considered sufficient to invoke a NATO Article 5 response, even though not immediately attributable to any nation state but to non-state actors. That NATO Article 5 declaration (the only one since the inception of NATO) was used in conjunction with Chapter 7 UN Resolutions to form the ISAF missions and take military action against the nation state of Afghanistan for harbouring those non-state actors and their promoters. Attribution therefore—even if of vicarious or ‘deniable’ promotion by nation states, such as in the situation in Ukraine—illustrates the developing need for NATO to re-examine the criteria and doctrines, both legal and military, for the declaration and use of Article 5 for collective defence and the declaration and use of associated Article 4 (itself only invoked four times) for collective security. (Paragraph 87)

11.  In particular, NATO must resolve the contradiction between the specifications in Article 5 that a response should be to an « armed attack » and the likelihood on the other hand of an « unarmed attack » (such as a cyber attack or other ambiguous warfare). NATO must consider whether the adjective « armed » should be removed from the definition of an Article 5 attack. (Paragraph 88)

12.  The breadth of the Russian unconventional threat, stretching into economic and energy policy makes it clear that NATO cannot counter all of the specific threats posed by Russia. Responding to these specific threats will be a matter for national Governments and the EU. However, NATO must ensure that its response to any such operation perpetrated against a Member State is timely and robust. This also requires investment in new capabilities to address the new threats. (Paragraph 89)

13.  We recommend that the NATO Summit also address the Alliance’s vulnerabilities in the face of asymmetric (ambiguous warfare) attacks. In particular it should consider (Paragraph 90)

·  What steps it needs to take to deter asymmetric threats;

·  How it should respond in the face of an imminent or actual such attack;

·  The circumstances in which the Article 5 mutual defence guarantee will be invoked in the face of asymmetric attack;

·  How it can, as a matter of urgency, create an Alliance doctrine for « ambiguous warfare » and make the case for investment in an Alliance asymmetric or « ambiguous warfare » capability.

14.  Given questions raised by Russian actions in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, we recommend that the Government fundamentally reviews its priorities as defined in the National Security Strategy. In particular, we note that state-on-state conflict was designated a low, tier 3, threat. We therefore suggest that substantial reworking of the National Security Strategy is required immediately. (Paragraph 97)

15.  The nature of the reappearance of the threat from Russia, and its likely manifestation in asymmetric forms of warfare underline the importance of high quality, independent analysis of developments in Russia and in Russian military doctrine. The closure of the Advanced Research and Assessment Group has led to a drastic denuding of capability in this area. The MoD needs a new Conflict Studies Research Centre (which ARAG subsumed). (Paragraph 98)

16.  There may be an argument that lack of MoD capacity doesn’t matter given Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s presence in the region. However, given cuts in the budget of the FCO; the level of ambassadorial representation in the Baltic States; the lack of designated language posts (and therefore a lack of language speakers in the Baltic region); and the minimal size of the FCO desk dealing with Ukraine before the conflict, we believe that this capability gap is not unique to the MoD but represents a significant strategic gap for the Government. (Paragraph 99)

17.  We recommend that the Ministry of Defence address, also as a matter of urgency, its capacity to understand the nature of the current security threat from Russia and its motivations. Ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of Defence Attachés to provide the analysis and expertise required is one measure which would help to address this issue. In particular we recommend the appointment of additional Defence Attachés to cover the Baltic States and in Central and Eastern Europe and reverse the cutbacks in Russia and Ukraine. We further recommend that the Government ensure that there is adequate representation in Poland which may be of critical importance in the future. We also recommend the creation of a « red team » in the Ministry of Defence to provide a challenge to existing orthodoxy from a specifically Russian perspective. (Paragraph 100)

18.  We recommend that the NATO Summit also address the Alliance’s vulnerabilities in the face of asymmetric (ambiguous warfare) attacks. In particular it should consider: (Paragraph 101)

·  How to establish the intelligence processes and an « Indicators and Warning » mechanism to alert Allies to the danger or imminence of such an attack

Recommendations

19.  The NATO alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its Member States for twenty years. It is now forced to do so as a result of Russia’s recent actions. Events in Ukraine this year, following on from the cyber attack on Estonia in 2007 and the invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, are a « wake-up call » for NATO. They have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of NATO preparedness, which will be tough to fix. The UK Government should take the lead in ensuring that the NATO Summit addresses these threats in the most concrete and systematic fashion. (Paragraph 102)

20.  We recommend that the NATO Summit sets plans to ensure: (Paragraph 103)

·  dramatic improvements to the existing NATO rapid reaction force;

·  the pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States;

·  a continuous (if not technically ‘permanent’) presence of NATO troops, on training and exercise in the Baltic;

·  the re-establishment of large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States. These exercises must involve both military and political decision-makers;

·  the establishment of headquarters structures, at divisional and corps level to focus on Eastern Europe and the Baltic;

·  consideration of the re-establishment of a NATO standing reserve force along the lines of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force-Land, involving all Member States; and,

·  re-examination of the criteria, doctrine and responses to calls under Article 4 for ‘collective security’ support against asymmetric attacks, especially, but not limited to, cyber attacks where attribution is difficult.

21.  We recommend that the NATO Summit also addresses the Alliance’s vulnerabilities in the face of asymmetric (ambiguous warfare) attacks. In particular it should consider (Paragraph 104)

·  How to establish the intelligence processes and an « Indicators and Warning » mechanism to alert Allies to the danger or imminence of such an attack;

·  What steps it needs to take to deter asymmetric threats;

·  How it should respond in the face of an imminent or actual such attack;

·  The circumstances in which the Article 5 mutual defence guarantee will be invoked in the face of asymmetric attack;

·  How it can, as a matter of urgency, create an Alliance doctrine for « ambiguous warfare » and make the case for investment in an Alliance asymmetric or « ambiguous warfare » capability.

22.  We recommend that the Ministry of Defence address, also as a matter of urgency, its capacity to understand the nature of the current security threat from Russia and its motivations. Ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of Defence Attachés to provide the analysis and expertise required is one measure which would help to address this issue. In particular we recommend the appointment of additional Defence Attachés to cover the Baltic States and in Central and Eastern Europe and reverse the cutbacks in Russia and Ukraine. We further recommend that the Government ensure that there is adequate representation in Poland which may be of critical importance in the future. We also recommend the creation of a « red team » in the Ministry of Defence to provide a challenge to existing orthodoxy from a specifically Russian perspective. (Paragraph 105)

23.  We recommend that, in opening the NATO Summit, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State should make a commitment to the UK maintaining defence spending at or above 2% of GDP. Increasing levels of spending amongst European NATO Member States and the collective efficiency of such spending must be made a priority of the Summit as a demonstration of NATO’s political will and its commitment to collective defence. (Paragraph 106)

24.  This report does not deal with the detail of emerging events in the non-NATO state of Ukraine but it would be wrong to publish a report on NATO relations and responses to Russia without expressing our sympathies and condolences to all the families, friends and nations who have experienced the deaths of relatives, friends and citizens from the downing of Malaysian Airlines civilian flight MH17 with military rockets near the borders of Ukraine and Russia. Our condolences are extended to all affected but especially to the relatives and friends of the UK citizens killed and to our allies who suffered such a heavy toll of innocent lives. (Paragraph 107)