Russian build-up on the Black Sea and recommendations for U.S.-NATO counter-strategy
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The Black Sea historically was the theater of rivalry between great powers, mainly the Ottoman Empire and Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, rivalry on the Black Sea became much less intense as Russia weakened and NATO was not paying much attention to it. After the 2008 invasion of Georgia and the 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO gradually resumed activity on the Black Sea, sending warships of non-littoral NATO members and conducting joint maritime exercises. Russia built a robust anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) bubble in Crimea and responded to NATO activation with provocative actions against NATO ships. At its most recent summit in Warsaw in 2016, NATO paid quite a lot attention to the Black Sea issue and committed to increase NATO presence in the area; nevertheless, the organization shared no signs of a clear strategy. This thesis discusses a potential alternative strategy for NATO, which is based on using its own strategy against Russia—with littoral NATO members and partners building a couple of A2/AD bubbles around the Russian one. The suggested strategy consists of the creation of a Black Sea defense coordination center, an integrated network of all source data exchanged, and the combined capabilities of robust land-based mobile anti-ship missiles, mobile air defense systems, and sea and air surveillance radars, as well as aviation and naval assets.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimitedReissued 30 May 2017 to correct misspelled name of Dept. Chair on title page.
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