The credibility of any alliance depends on its ability to deliver deterrence and defence for the safety and security of its members. Without capability, any alliance is deprived of credibility and exists only on paper. Despite a rocky history – up to and including the current debate on burden-sharing – capability lies at the heart of NATO’s success. There is good cause to draw optimism from the Alliance’s accomplishments throughout its 70 years in providing a framework for developing effective and interoperable capabilities.
These graphics provide an overview of the trend in Russia’s defense spending, outlining spending between 2010 and 2018 as well as forecasts for the defense budget up to 2021. For an insight into the prospects for Russia’s defense spending and more, see ‘Russian Analytical Digest No. 237: Security Issues’.
The 2016 defence white paper and the decades-long integrated investment program will deliver a future force that includes 72 joint strike fighters, several hundred infantry fighting vehicles, nine new frigates and 12 new submarines. F-35 deliveries have started but the ‘future’ frigate and submarine programs were well named: the Hunter-class frigates will turn up, all going well, between 2028 and the early 2040s, and the first Attack-class submarine is scheduled to enter service in 2035, with the 12th in the mid-2050s.
News stories on the cyber threat that China poses appear on a regular basis. Most underscore a view that China is using cyber power to rise and ultimately win global dominance, and that the Chinese government is behind the scenes in many malicious cyber activities. Though many of the allegations focus on the tension between China and the United States on cyber espionage, these actions are unlikely to cause armed conflict since almost all capable actors conduct cyber espionage.
This article was originally published by The Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) on 12 September 2018.
Implementation of the NATO Brussels Summit decisions will enhance deterrence and defence on the Alliance’s Eastern Flank, especially through an improvement of the ability to mobilise and deploy larger reinforcements. At the same time, NATO members’ different threat perceptions, including their view of Russia, remain a challenge. Maintaining the U.S. in the lead role will be key to further adaptation but this position could be weakened by growing transatlantic tensions and dissonance in the American administration.