In June 2014, a month after he had left his force-planning job at the Pentagon, the Air Force asked Ochmanek for advice on Russia’s neighborhood ahead of Obama’s September visit to Tallinn, Estonia. At the same time, the Army had approached another of Ochmanek’s colleagues at Rand, and the two teamed up to run a thought exercise called a “table top,” a sort of war game between two teams: the red team (Russia) and the blue team (NATO). The scenario was similar to the one that played out in Crimea and eastern Ukraine: increasing Russian political pressure on Estonia and Latvia (two NATO countries that share borders with Russia and have sizable Russian-speaking minorities), followed by the appearance of provocateurs, demonstrations, and the seizure of government buildings. “Our question was: Would NATO be able to defend those countries?” Ochmanek recalls.Sorry.
The results were dispiriting. Given the recent reductions in the defense budgets of NATO member countries and American pullback from the region, Ochmanek says the blue team was outnumbered 2-to-1 in terms of manpower, even if all the U.S. and NATO troops stationed in Europe were dispatched to the Baltics — including the 82nd Airborne, which is supposed to be ready to go on 24 hours’ notice and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“We just don’t have those forces in Europe,” Ochmanek explains. Then there’s the fact that the Russians have the world’s best surface-to-air missiles and are not afraid to use heavy artillery.
After eight hours of gaming out various scenarios, the blue team went home depressed. “The conclusion,” Ochmanek says, “was that we are unable to defend the Baltics.”
I can't even begin to be sympathetic. This is another instance of "mafias" winning and real life losing.
Why would military professionals suddenly believe that turning the entire military into SOCOM light/wannabe or SOCOM support would actually win wars that determine the fate of nations?
The Russians have taken a better approach to things and to this very day the Administration and Pentagon are playing games. Do you really believe that the USAF sending 4...yeah that's right..FOUR F-22's to Europe is an actual deterrent? Do you think that the 2nd ACR in their Strykers is an actual deterrent? They're at best speed bumps and at worst they're cannon fodder!
We are left at the mercy of our "enemy" (I still marvel at the idea that we talk to China, but consider Russia an enemy...someone explain that to me). I don't think Putin is going to push into the Baltics but if he does then NATO/US/EU won't be able to stop them.