On the Doorstep of a New NATO Strategic Concept: What Threats and Challenges Will Shape Defence in North-East Europe in 2030?

The Annual Baltic Conference on Defence (ABCD), 10 November 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia

Venue: Nordic Hotel Forum (Viru väljak 3, Tallinn)


The Euro-Atlantic security environment has deteriorated as a result of Russia’s aggressive rhetoric and action, and growing frictions between Russia, China, and the Western democracies. Fundamental differences in respect for democratic principles and human rights further challenge relations. While it is necessary to continue dialogue and try to find common ground, it is also important to take a step back, to evaluate the patterns and trends of the last decade, and to draw lessons for the next one. NATO’s priorities need to be built, collectively, upon credible and realistic assessments.

NATO’s current Strategic Concept, published in 2010, is outdated. In writing a new Strategic Concept, Allies will need to consider the threats they face today and the new threats that will emerge in the next decade, and develop appropriate responses to them. As part of this, they will need to re-examine those threats of particular concern in north-east Europe and review their defence posture in the region.



ICDS recently published a series of NATO2030 policy briefs intended to shed light on some of the issues related to the Alliance’s further adaptation and their possible impacts in the Baltic region:

Strengthening NATO’s Cohesion Through Consultation by Wojciech Lorenz of the Polish Institute of International Affairs examines how NATO’s mechanisms for consultation among Allies have evolved in response to shifts in the security environment, and offers suggestions as to how these mechanisms might be strengthened as a means of mitigating tensions in NATO today.

Towards a NATO China Strategy by Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs examines the Allies’ public statements on China to find the common ground that might form the backbone of a NATO Strategy for China.

NATO’s Force Structure and Posture by Martin Hurt of the ICDS looks at how NATO’s force structure and posture have evolved since the end of the Cold War, and outlines the challenges of the further modernisation necessary if NATO is to keep pace with an evolving security environment.

Credible Deterrence in the Baltic Region by Mārtiņš Vargulis of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs looks at how NATO has responded since 2014 to the threat from Russia to enhance deterrence in the Baltic region, and proposes what more needs to be done to ensure a credible deterrence posture.

America’s Transatlantic Agenda by Robertas Šapronas examines the challenges facing the Biden Administration in its efforts to rebuild the transatlantic relationship and America’s leadership of NATO.

Addressing the Burden-Sharing Challenge by Kristīne Rudzīte-Stejskala of the Ministry of Defence of Latvia describes NATO’s burden-sharing debate and offers some new approaches.

Regional Cooperation for a Stronger NATO by Justina Gotkowska of the Centre for Eastern Studies argues that regional cooperation has given way to efforts to enhance bilateral relations with NATO’s larger Allies.