Small Wars Journal

Russia

Russian Rear Area Operations and the Resistance Operating Concept Riley.C.Murray Wed, 09/08/2021 - 8:50pm
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 19th-century fashion”, it became clear to many eastern and central European states, NATO members and non-members alike, that their 21st 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. 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.
Responding to Gray Zone Conflict: Countering Russia in the Donbas and Beyond Riley.C.Murray Mon, 06/07/2021 - 1:38pm
U.S. defense planning is hampered by a binary conception of peace and war. An effective response will require a more nuanced approach. Specifically, it will require the U.S. and its allies and partners to better equip Ukrainian forces for both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. The latter must focus on denying the opposition force, in this case Russia, the ability to remain in the Gray Zone.

Institute for the Study of War: The Russian Military's Lessons Learned in Syria

Wed, 02/03/2021 - 9:20pm

Full Report Available Here: http://www.understandingwar.org/report/russian-military%E2%80%99s-lessons-learned-syria

 

The Russian military identifies its deployment to Syria as the prototypical example of future war—an expeditionary deployment to support a coalition-based hybrid war. The Russian General Staff cites Syria as highlighting the need for Russia to develop a new military capability—deploying flexible expeditionary forces to carry out “limited actions” abroad. The Russian Armed Forces are applying lessons learned from their experience in Syria to shape their development into a flexible and effective expeditionary force.

 

The United States must avoid projecting its own modernization priorities—or those of other competitors such as China—onto Russia. The Russian military is making discrete choices to concentrate on certain learning opportunities from Syria while rejecting or deemphasizing others. These choices are optimized to support a Russian concept of operations that is distinct from both pre-Syria Russian modernization efforts and the United States’ own modernization efforts.

 

The Russian military is using lessons learned managing an ad hoc coalition and proxy forces in Syria to inform preparations to coordinate formal coalitions in future wars. The Kremlin seeks to set conditions to ensure its next “limited action” based on Syria, as described by Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov, can leverage non-Russian forces. The Kremlin’s preparations in this regard include practicing coalition operations in exercises and expanding Russia’s international military ties—magnifying the Kremlin’s power projection capabilities.  

Avoiding War in the Arctic: A Two-Step Solution SWJED Fri, 01/10/2020 - 10:19am
To maintain peace in the Arctic, the United States should promote international trade in the Arctic, especially with Russia while simultaneously incentivizing growth in the American Arctic. The biggest threat to peace in the Arctic is not Russian military buildup, nor Chinese investment, but Sino-Russian cooperation and coordination in the Arctic and across the Eurasian continent.

A NATO Urban Delaying Strategy for the Baltic States

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 2:57am
Any successful Russian thrust into one or more of the Baltic States depends on the calculus of speed. They need to make the action a fait accompli before NATO reinforcement can arrive. A 2016 Rand war game indicated that current NATO capabilities cannot properly offset the Russian 6-1 armor advantage in the Baltics in a timely manner. However, if key Baltic urban areas can be turned into potential urban fortresses, the equation changes radically.

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In Libya, Peace is Possible if Foreign Interference Ends

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 4:49pm
"If foreign powers ceased their involvement in Libya, the country’s protracted civil war could come to an end quickly, said Mohamed Syala, the foreign minister of the Government of National Accord, in an interview with the U.S. Institute of Peace. The role of outside powers in Libya’s conflict has garnered renewed international attention in recent weeks as Russia has ramped up its support for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces."

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National Security and the Arctic: Deterrence of Russian Influences in the Arctic Ocean SWJED Sat, 11/02/2019 - 12:19am
The Arctic Sea is a significant expanse for American security and has repeatedly been under-resourced by the Department of Defense (DoD). Without access to the sea and airspace that the freedom of the seas provides, the United States’ ability to maintain a forward presence and accomplish a range of military and humanitarian assistance missions will be compromised.

What Translation Troubles Can Tell Us About Russian Information Warfare

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 5:06am
Moscow’s form of information warfare targeting the West has attracted significant international attention since 2014, especially through its reinvigorated military intelligence branch. Nonetheless, little research has focused on these campaigns’ apparent shortcomings.

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Same Dog, New Tricks: Trends in Russian Intelligence Services SWJED Mon, 09/23/2019 - 6:48am
Russian intelligence has adapted to exploit modern tools and the host of vulnerabilities they present, building on a robust history of exploiting the open access to media and information that are hallmarks of western, democratic societies. Russian confidence is at an all-time high, where intelligence activities are conducted with little regard for political costs.

Everything Old is New Again: Russian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean Use of Proxies Against the United States

Mon, 09/23/2019 - 4:29am
What role do unofficial transnational and criminal organizations play in the global adversarial competition among nations occurring today? How specifically do Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or other specifically named adversary employ unofficial transnational or criminal organizations in its strategic efforts to undermine the United States or its allies?

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