2019 - EVOLVING SECURITY IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC

Nicholas SOAMES (United Kingdom)

30 April 2019

Ensuring the Atlantic Ocean remains Allied-friendly is essential to the trans-Atlantic Alliance: NATO’s defence and deterrence posture is predicated on Allied freedom of movement in the North Atlantic.  Russian military presence in the North Atlantic is increasing in both quantity and quality, representing a growing potential threat to the vital transatlantic space. 


This draft report reviews the strategic importance of the North Atlantic and the significance of Allied command and control of the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap. It also examines the nature of the Russian threat in the North Atlantic and the current Allied effort to respond to this new threat. 


The Alliance is already bringing the North Atlantic back to a level of strategic focus not seen since the Cold War. The reality in the North Atlantic today, however, is that the arena is far more challenging than it was during the Cold War. This draft report finds a number of concrete steps the Alliance could take to further its efforts in this region. These include revamping former or opening new bases in the strategically important areas of the North Atlantic, increased investment in Allied naval fleets, increased anti-submarine training and exercising in the North Atlantic, and for European members investing in the infrastructure necessary to receive North American forces and equipment.