Conference Agenda

MAST Northern Coasts 2019 Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark

Thu 5 Sep 2019

15:30 Thu 5 Sep 2019


5A: Surface

Geopolitics I

CHAIR: Dr John Bruni

Hybrid Threats to Critical Maritime Infrastructure

  • Mr Hans Tino Hansen
    Risk Intelligence

The paper will discuss threats from hybrid warfare to critical maritime infrastructure in the Baltic region with a view to address the differences between various phases through peacetime, crisis and war. It will also show how these threats may be countered or how respective risks may be mitigated.

A wide range of critical maritime infrastructure can be found in the Baltic region, which is vital to states surrounding the Baltic Sea as well as to other countries in Europe as part of wider networks of communication and of regional and global supply chains. This infrastructure ranges from naval installations and commercial ports to specialised terminals for LNG imports, pipelines and communication cables. In addition, ferry lines operating in the region are also part of this critical network.

Hybrid threats cover a wide range of options to operate in the grey zone between peace, conflict and war. Most of these are publicly un-attributable and therefore more difficult to identify and counter than traditional military operations by a hostile state. These threats will be analysed against the vulnerability of critical maritime infrastructure in the Baltic region.

Finally, the paper will discuss how states around the Baltic Sea may be able to address the challenges with military, law enforcement and civilian means.

Russian Sea Denial Capabilities in the Baltic Region

  • Cdr. Anders Puck Nielsen
    Military analyst
    Royal Danish Defence College

The paper examines Russia's sea denial capabilities in the Baltic region. It is often described as if Russia has the ability to close the Baltic Sea for Western navies. This is a vulnerability for NATO because it could be impossible to reinforce the Baltic States in case of a war. However, recent research indicates that the effectiveness of Russia's so-called A2/AD capabilities is overrated. There are significant weaknesses in Russia's surveillance and missile technology, and NATO can explore these opportunities.

This paper expands on that argument. It is shown that Russia would face both technical and political obstacles to the establishment of effective sea denial in the Baltic Sea. The technical argument is that Russia does not have the necessary naval or air assets to deny the access of Western navies to the Baltic Sea for very long. The political argument is that it is unsustainable for Russia to block merchant traffic in the Eastern Baltic, so they would face an insurmountable surveillance challenge.

A short analysis of the composition of the Baltic Fleet reveals that Russia is well aware of its own limitations. It is suggested that the Baltic Fleet is designed for peacetime purposes rather than an armed confrontation with the West.

NATO Maritime Strategy: Promises and Pitfalls

  • Mr. Sten Rynning
    University of Southern Denmark

NATO Maritime Strategy: Promises and Pitfalls

This presentation will focus on the North Atlantic maritime domain and explore NATO's ability to generate effective and collective maritime strategy based on cooperation among allies and partners. NATO's role in generating such strategy is pivotal, if sometimes overlooked by enthusiasts of coalition-based operations. Moreover, the history of NATO maritime strategy illuminates how such strategy even in the best of times has been difficult to craft. NATO as a whole has to balance land, air, and maritime investments and define their relative autonomy; in the naval domain it must integrate national perspectives that differ by way of geography and history--from littoral to open-ocean navies; and NATO strategy will inevitable involve a framework of varying strategic roles and tasks that allow for political compromise. The presentation will take stock both of NATO's historical achievements and its current strategic framework, unfolding since 2014.

I have agreed to do this presentation upon the invitation from Ole Kværnø of the RDDC. I am able to speak in the afternoon of Thursday, September 5. Thank you in advance for taking this into consideration.

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