[Originally published by Royal Danish Defence College]

On March 1, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled an arsenal of nuclear weapons designed to defeat American and NATO missile defence systems, signifying a further escalation of tensions between Russia and the West. Many observers have likened the current geopolitical climate to that experienced during the Cold War, with a few even designating this as the start of a new Cold War. While accurately predicting the onset of any “Second Cold War” may prove as difficult as was predicting the end of the first, the fact that Russia’s relations with the United States and most European nations have deteriorated significantly since the turn of the millennium is undisputed. These heightened tensions have forced NATO to revert to its foundational purpose: deterring Russian military expansion in Eastern and Central Europe.

NATO’s reorientation to Europe means that it is again focusing on regions long absent from the geopolitical radar. Foremost among these is the Eastern Baltic Sea. Once firmly in the Soviet sphere of influence, over the past twenty-five years the Baltic has been largely transformed into a NATO lake, with most of the littoral areas controlled by alliance members and other friendly nations. Although arguably one of NATO greatest political successes, the expansion into the Baltic region has also produced strategic vulnerabilities for the Alliance.

Nowhere are these vulnerabilities more apparent than in NATO’s three Baltic members: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Led by the United States, NATO far outmatches Russia in global conventional military force; however, Moscow can severely limit NATO’s ability to operate in the eastern Baltic through an interrelated set of strategies, tactics, and weapons systems categorized under the dual umbrella concepts of Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD).

In an effort to better understand the growing geopolitical tensions in the Baltic region, the Royal Danish Defence College and the Danish Institute for International Studies are organizing a public conference in Copenhagen on May 29, 2018. This conference brings together experts from academia, the military, and the policy realm, who specialize in the Baltic region, A2/AD, Russia, and transatlantic security. Through open discourse, the conference aims to provide participants and attendees with diverse perspectives on the challenging security situation in the Baltic region. Particular attention will be paid to three central questions:

  • What does Russian A2/AD capabilities mean for deterrence?
  • How does NATO deter Russia in an A2/AD environment?
  • What are the implications of NATO’s shift from reassurance to deterrence in the Baltic?

This dialogue is intended to foster new thinking into how NATO can best mitigate the challenges posed by increased tensions with Russia in the Baltic Sea region.


DATE: Tuesday May 29, 2018

LOCATION: Building 118, Royal Danish Defence College, Ryvangs Allé 1, Copenhagen, Denmark

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Policymakers, military officers, and academics from Denmark and other NATO/EU countries.


12.30 – 1300 
Arrival and registration

13.00 - 13.10
Welcome & Introduction
Ole Kværnø, Dean, Royal Danish Defence College

13.10 – 13.55
Jim Townsend, Center for a New American Security & Danish Institute for International Studies

13.55 – 14.10 

14.10 – 15.25
Panel 1: Reassurance and Deterrence: NATO in the Baltic
•Guillaume Lasconjarias, NATO Defense College
•Alexander Lanoszka, City, University of London
•Jens Ringsmose, Royal Danish Defence College
•Flemming Splidsboel Hansen, Danish Institute for International Studies (Chair)


Panel 2: Regional Perspectives on the Baltic
•Anders Puck Nielsen, Royal Danish Navy Officer, Maritme Perspective.
•Segey Sukhankin, International Centre for Policy Studies, Kiev.
•Viljar Veebel, Baltic Defence College
•Peter Viggo Jacobsen, Royal Danish Defence College
•Hans Mouritzen, Danish Institute for International Studies (Chair)
Concluding Remarks
Kristian Fischer, Danish Institute for International Studies

17.00 – 18.00 Reception

Deadline for registering is 23 May 2018. Maximum number of attendants is 120. The conference is free of charge.

The seminar, which will be held in English. For more information please contact: Felix Falck Jensen: feje@fak.dk.

Sign up for the conference here