The Return of Direct Defense in Europe: In Post-COVID 19 World

By Robbin Laird and Murielle Delaporte

The challenge of direct defense in Europe posed prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union is significantly different from the challenge today.

There are clearly historical carryovers, not the least of which because President Putin provides a thread between the two historical eras.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact have significantly altered the geography facing the liberal democracies in Europe and their North Atlantic partners.

Rather than a Western Europe facing the pincers from North, Center and South of a Warsaw-Pact Russian dominated Soviet Empire, now “new” and “old” Europe face the “new” Russia and its allies in Europe and beyond.

The Russians under Putin have significantly restructured their military and have recalibrated their global position with regards to their ability to influence European defense and security calculations.

Rather than having an old-style Soviet invasion force ready to cross the inner German border, the Russian military is prioritizing air and sea capabilities as well as usable ground insertion forces.

It is about dominance in high leverage situations and an ability to operate across the spectrum of warfare. And for the Russians, nuclear modernization has been conjoined with a projected lowering of the nuclear threshold as well.

And with their seizure of Crimea, and their engagement in Syria, the Russians have used territorial location to expand their reach into areas of significance for Europe as a whole. Notably, the Crimean annexation called into question the projected moves Eastward by the European Union to include Ukraine and by operating from Syria with enhanced air and sea basing, the Russians have returned to the Mediterranean with an impact of ongoing developments in the region, notably of core significance to the Southern Flank of NATO.

And in the contemporary era, the plutocracy of Putin has worked with new tool sets, notably cyber, along with older proclivities, namely political warfare, to reshape along with other 21st century authoritarian powers, notably China, an ability to reshape internally the dynamics of direct defense (inclusive of security) within both the “new” and “old” Europe.

This about using new tools, such as cyber capabilities, as well as the opportunities, not available in the Cold War, to expand economically within the liberal democracies and to shape internal support for investments from authoritarian states directly within Europe and North America.

In other words, it is not about warfare per se; it is about the evolution of liberal democracies and the expanded tool sets, which non-liberal actors have to seek to influence the culture, actions and decisions of the liberal democracies.

As Juha Mustonen of the Finnish Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats has put it in our interview with him: in 2017 “Adversaries can amplify vulnerabilities by buying land, doing investments, making these kinds of economic interdependencies. They can be in dialogue with our citizens or groups of our citizens, for example, to fostering anti-immigrant sentiments and exploiting them to have greater access to certain groups inside the European societies. For example, the narratives of some European far right groupings have become quite close to some adversaries’ narratives.”

“Adversaries are using many instruments of power. One may identify a demonstration affect from the limited use of military power and then by demonstrating our vulnerabilities a trial of a psychological affect within Western societies to shape policies more favorable to their interests.

“If you are using many instruments of power, below the threshold of warfare, their synergetic effect can cause your bigger gain in your target societies, and this is the dark side of comprehensive approach.”

“The challenge is to understand the thresholds of influence and the approaches. What is legitimate and what is not? And how do we counter punch against the use of hybrid influencing by Non-Western adversaries? How can we prevent our adversaries from exploiting democratic fractures and vulnerabilities, to enhance their own power positions? How do we do so without losing our credibility as governments in front of our own people?”

The non-liberal powers are clearly leveraging new military capabilities to support their global diplomacy to try to get outcomes and advantages that enhance their position and interests. The systems they are building and deploying are clearly recognized by the Western militaries as requiring a response; less recognized is how the spectrum of conflict is shifting in terms of using higher end capabilities for normal diplomatic gains.

It is about hard power underwriting other warfighting tool sets, notably those associated with political warfare, which underwrites hybrid warfare, which in turn is empowered by escalation capabilities residing in a robust conventional military force structure, which in turn is underwritten by modern nuclear weapons as well.

This is quite different from the classic distinction made between hard and soft power, and is really about thinking through how political warfare tools and hybrid warfare concepts of operations are key parts of full spectrum crisis management. Political warfare prepares the ground for hybrid warfare, where kinetic means are blended in with the initiatives prepared by political warfare. And both are underwritten by background relevant conventional warfare capabilities.

21st century authoritarian states are taking on liberal democracies at the level of their core values and are challenging them to protect their interests. And they are doing so in a period of profound change within the West and how the Western alliances, both NATO and the European Union, are playing out in national calculations about how best to defend their interests in the new threat environment.

With the end of the Cold War, and the sole superpower remaining standing, the “end of history” seemed at hand for some analysts whereby the liberal democracies where not only in the ascendancy but would now dominate the decades ahead.

A “Europe whole and free” was arising from the ashes of the Soviet Empire, and “new Europe” would enter a prosperous expanded Europe, which would carry forward the legacies of democratic development of the post-War period.

The expansion of the two key Western Alliances, the European Union and NATO provided both a means and an end to consolidation of a secure and prosperous Western World.  Direct defense became a residual good, not a core requirement for the survival of liberal democracies.

This vision was derailed by what would become a very different set of realities.  Rather than the alliances providing umbrellas for defining national policies and approaches, nations and their core allies are shaping tools and leveraging the alliances for what they see as the priorities for direct defense and the security infrastructure necessary for their national survival.

In other words, both the core and the periphery for both alliances have changed fundamentally from what was anticipated in 1990. For the nations within Europe and in North America, fundamental political change is underway, and with it the reshaping of priorities.  The core nations are reworking their various bilateral and multi-lateral relationships to support those shifting priorities.

This means that underlying the relative stability of alliance membership, the core states are shifting what these alliances mean for them in terms of both national and clustering of partners within the alliances and beyond.

And the threats have changed significantly as the melding of internal and external threats have provided a rich tapestry for the rise of the 21st century authoritarian powers and movements to challenge without and to reshape within the liberal democracies themselves.

The Balkan Wars in the 1990s and the seizure of Crimea in 2014 were stark reminders that military conflict within Europe was not an historical remnant. And as the United States and then NATO became focused on countering the terrorist threats emanating from the Middle East, a force structure and focus of attention upon deterring peer competitors became decidedly a secondary consideration. Virtually the entire experience of dealing with a peer competitor became a history lesson with little or no impact on investments, or operations for the Western defense forces.

The rise of the authoritarian powers directly challenging the liberal democracies has been a shock. And it is a shock which is only begun to shape investments, priorities and new approaches to military operational capabilities.  Reshaping Western forces is a work in progress, and one where different nations are clearly focusing on different mixes of force to deal with what they view as their priority challenges.

In part, this is because the threat has changed and with it, divergent focus of investments and priorities by the different Western nations. With the rise of religious terrorism associated with movements like ISIS, the threat has been both geographical within the Middle East as well as internal within Europe itself. Recruiting from Europe to the ISIS movement in the Middle East as well as direct terrorist events in Europe itself associated with ISIS or Al Qaeda or other Islamic terrorist organizations has become a core threat to Europe and part of the direct defense challenge.

And this threat is being met by a combination of external military action as well as internal security operations and measures within Europe. Although the threat has been Europe-wide some states have had a much more significant challenge, and for those states like France, the United Kingdom, Italy or Spain have prioritized that aspect of the challenge.

Both alliances have provided collaborative tools and collaborative umbrellas within which information has been shared, and common force structure development and operations shaped.  For NATO, the focus has been more on the force structure and reshaping of counter-terrorist operational capabilities; for the EU, it has been more information sharing and shaping to the extent possible common security policies.

The upsurge in migration from North Africa and the Middle East has clearly not just severely tested common EU approaches but has led to clear cleavages within Europe with regard to borders, internal security and the willingness to share common burdens across Europe as defined by a common European Union policy. Migration pressures and terrorist threats tend to focus populations on their national identities and their cultural approaches to protecting their nation and their national interests.

An Alliance structure is only useful in terms of how that nation can leverage their alliance relationships or to forge common approaches with states, which share most closely a particular nations approach.

Put in other terms, the migratory pressures and internal security threats have driven alliance politics much more than alliance politics have shaped common approaches. These pressures have led to a return to nationalism or to nation’s seeking closer relations with like-minded states within their alliance structure or outside.

The divergences among national approaches have been as striking as have convergences but clearly migratory and terrorist challenge are a key part of what European nations are focused upon within regard to direct defense. And this focus changes the nature of the periphery as well as the focus of the core of the alliance partners.

The Russians have had an indirect impact on the migratory and internal terrorist threats.  On the one hand, the Russians have taken advantage of the divergences within Europe to enhance their ability to interfere and to influence.

And they themselves have directly acted within European states to strike their own version of terrorism within Europe itself, most notably in terms of their chemical attack in the United Kingdom.  On the other hand, their engagement in Syria has been part of support for Assad in the Syrian Civil War and have done so in a way that an enhanced outpouring of refugees has been stimulated.

But by becoming Syria’s protector and by having significant military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Russians are now in a position to directly influence the evolution of policies, priorities and actions by Southern Tier European states.  And the Turkish opening provides a significant opportunity to expand the Russian wedge into Europe as well.

The hope that “Europe whole and free” would see ever advancing integration within the European Union along with a revitalized NATO is being dashed. The hope was that convergence of capabilities would be enhanced almost by the Adam Smith type hidden hand approach. But such a hope has been dashed by the return of the direct threat from Russia, the new warfare approaches of the authoritarian powers, and the migratory and internal security challenges associated with the growing transfer of Middle Eastern instabilities westward.

Equally significant has been the economic downturn in Europe, where the German export engine is experiencing significant downturns. The prospects for robust economic growth are not good.  Without steady and significant economic growth, Europe faces a number of key challenges: how to manage social cohesion? How to deal with internal security threats? How to build more secure 21st century infrastructure? And how to rebuild military force structures more capable of deterrence against 21st century threats?

The economic slowdown and the need to drive new paths to economic growth provide an opportunity for a global economic power like China to expand its economic foothold in Europe.  Being in a position to wedge into a difficult European economic situation to expand its influence through what is in effect distorted globalization, the Chinese reinforce the Russian efforts as well within Europe to expand the influence of the 21st century authoritarians. By reshaping Western infrastructure, the ground floor for reshaping the terms and conditions for success in the direct defense of Europe are being rewritten.

The COVID-19 crisis and its impact will be felt significantly as well in terms of the future dynamics between the 21st century authoritarian states with the liberal democracies as well as the dynamics of change of the relationships among the liberal democratic states as well. China’s dominance of critical supply chains has been underscored in the crisis and it remains to seen what the Western states will do about this. At the same time, national responses in the West to COVID-19 have certainly trumped priority on multi-national working relationships as the primary response instinct.

In that sense, the crisis and the responses have reinforced the notion that all states are semi-sovereign in the contemporary global environment, but that national responsibilities are the primary vector from which defense and security is driven. We highlighted earlier how NATO has responded in the crisis; but the European Union and the response of the key European nations is even more telling about the role of the nation and security priorities.

The United States has experienced significant stress within its federal system of government, and much uncertainty about what powers need to be exercised in the Coronavirus crisis and by whom. And if the U.S. federal system which after all has a constitution laying out the sharing of powers, it is hardly surprising that the European Union is facing a significant existential crisis in dealing with the crisis.

The crisis is in effect a core reason a European Union should exist to sort through ways to manage common security challenges. It has been clear for some time, that there is a growing importance for liberal democracies being much more cognizant of their supply chain dependencies and their need to have a very clear resilience strategy or to pursue what a smart sovereignty approach.

Discussing the impact of the Coronavirus crisis, the Australian strategist, John Blackburn, highlighted the importance of shaping a smart sovereignty and trusted supply chain approach. “When we redesign our supply chains, we need to pursue a “Smart Sovereignty” model. The scale or degree of sovereign capability you have in a country, will vary significantly country by country…. What must go with smart sovereignty is Trusted Supply Chains. You have to have diverse supply chains, and you have to have assured yourself that you can trust them. What is evident here is the massive outsourcing and dependence upon China as the sole source of pharmaceutical ingredients and other essential supplies, cannot be ‘trusted.’ We’ve seen it fail in the current crisis.”[1]

The European Union certainly has come up short in working a wide ranging collaborative approach to deal with the crisis, but clearly it has the opportunity to reshape its role to encourage the member states to shape a smart sovereignty approach, which is core capability for direct defense in today’s world.

Perhaps in this crisis, the core Europe states will leverage what it has been FORCED to do as the beginning of a policy process to, in fact, deal with this as a key task which the European states both individually and collectively can focus upon.

Certainly, the Finns have led and continue to lead the way in thinking about resilience and crisis management. They have been the one state in Europe which has focused significantly upon resilience in a crisis. Perhaps one of the smallest states in Europe can be looked to for the intellectual leadership which larger states have abrogated.

Rather than following the dictum of Ben Franklin, that “we all hang together or we all hang separately,” national paths have been followed with significant competition among those states for access to medical supplies and closing national borders to control the movement of goods and persons. At the end of the day, the reopening phase and the post-crisis management phase will core questions about the way ahead for Brussels and for the nation states making up the European Union in shaping a way ahead for future crisis management.

It is clear, that the value of a European Union lies in significant extent in terms of an ability for nations to work together to handle crises and to shape a more effective way ahead for supply chain security and to shape secure infrastructure to protect Europe from the blandishments of the 21st century authoritarian powers.

Rather than pursuing the largely pyritic notion of building a European Army, the current crisis poses the stark need for not an aspiration but realities for a more effective crisis management system and more focus upon a secure supply chain.

It is also clear that the strategic shift from the Middle East wars to the question of 21st century global conflict among the core global powers is occurring in the context of a thirty-year process of globalization. This means that the classic understanding of national or allied defense industrial bases has been turned on its head as global sourcing has created a very new situation in which the challenge is to actual know what are the critical processes and capabilities to have under national control in times of conflict or crises where global supply chains are disrupted or shut down.

What does it mean to have a nation and its military or security forces sustained through a period of crisis? And this question is not an idle one for since the PRC has joined the WTO, it has pursued a deliberate policy of leveraging globalization to position itself for strategic dominance.

This has not happened simply by the Chinese pursuing what one might call a distorted (for a Western point of view) or a directed globalization strategy. They have been added by the enthusiastic support of Western politicians, industrialists and publics who have seen lower costs at home and profits abroad as the sine qua non of economic development. As Western business schools churned out a generation of theorists who focused on lean supply chains and focusing on core value of a firm which meant getting rid of organic supply capabilities within a firm, Chinese Inc. was only too willing to define itself as the supplier of choice for the West.

The only small problem is that the PRC is not a liberal democratic capitalist regime and the PRC leaders have a global strategy, which relies on distorted globalization to gain strategic advantage. As Ross Babbage, the noted Australian strategist, underscored in his recently published report on political warfare:

“China’s very large economy and the authority of the Party within it gives Beijing exten­sive scope to persuade, bribe, and coerce national and regional governments to accept large infrastructure developments and other Chinese involvements within their societies. China Inc. can afford to purchase key foreign enterprises, offer funding for uneconomic infrastructure projects, and heavily subsidize the entry of Chinese corporations into strategically important markets, even within strong Western societies. This provides Beijing with strategic positioning options that Moscow cannot afford and is not well structured to undertake.”[2]

The Chinese performance of generating the COVID-19 crisis in the first place, and then leveraging their dominance of medical supplies and shaping a constant flow of information war working to divide and conquer is becoming a transparent need. Meanwhile, the Russians have sent technicians into Europe to “support” efforts to deal with the crisis. In the Italian case, the Russians even sent members of a biological warfare team into Italy to help, which of course, provides yet another access channel by Russia into Europe to be leveraged as well in any future crisis.

In other words, the challenge of direct defense for Europe today is a broad one which encompasses reshaping force structure to deter the Russians, enhancing domestic security to deal with terrorist threats, rebuilding domestic infrastructure and industry to both protect Europe and to remain globally competitive and to rethink what are the benefits and limits of alliances in providing for national capabilities to protect national values and Europe’s place in the world.

What is clear is that straight line enhanced integration along the lines projected by the European Commission is not in the cards, nor European defense nor NATO with all allies contributing in ways that make Article III credible for their Article V defense commitment.

Defense has always posed a problem for both economists and for those who believe that the way ahead for the liberal democracies is enhanced multilateralism. For economists, the costs of defense are externalities, which take away from growth.

But the problem is that without a secure nation and secure production and supplies, there is not going to be a realistic economic growth strategy.  The question really is how to prioritize investments and to ensure a proper investment in defense and shaping an effective defense force for a nation.

For those who believe that nationalism is so-19th century, multi-lateral agreements and alliances are seen as the harbinger of the future and the best way to ensure the safety, security and defense of the “free world.” These perspectives ignore the core reality of the fact that national identity within democratic societies remains the bedrock of the willingness of a population to defend their way of life.

And alliances are given real life by what national populations are willing to do to defend themselves and with whom they are willing to work and to cut bargains for really showing up in a crisis with real means to defend both the nation and their meaningful allies. Meaningful in terms both of really showing up and showing up with something that matters to defeat an adversary focused on the defeat of your nation and those partner nations committed to the way of life which is mutually supported and shared.

Without real capabilities, and real commitments alliances are simply paper tigers, which an adversary can safely ignore while, they go about their business. Even worse, alliances can be used by nations as ways to ignore their own direct defense needs and requirements and to simply expect the more powerful members of an alliance to do the job for everyone else, with a minimal contribution for a particular nation.

But it is clear this is not the 19th century in that now Western state can directly defend itself and its interests by itself. We are in a situation where even powerful Western states can pursue defense and security strategies from a position of semi-sovereignty.  The challenge is to constantly recalibrate what the nation needs to do with regard to its safety, security and defense requirements to defend itself in regard to those partners or allies are willing to do for themselves as well.

The fundamental reality is that defense is national but executed in a situation of semi-sovereignty. It is shaped by semi-sovereign relations with other liberal democratic states but also in terms of sorting through the kind of relationships liberal democratic states will have with 21st century authoritarians which now operate both internally and externally with regard to the liberal democracies themselves.

Alliances are crucial but not definitive in solving the direct defense challenges facing today’s liberal democratic states. National goals and objectives need to be clearly identified, stated and pursued but done so with regard as well to ensuring that those liberal democratic states most willing to act in support of your nations more enlightened objectives are on the same page with regard to how best to handle full spectrum crisis management.

For example, the Poles bring together two key trend lines in the shaping of direct defense. The first is the clustering of states with similar approaches to defense, which is what can lead one to refer to a Polish-Nordic belt of defense. The second is the key salience of the “coalition of the willing” to actively operate to defend what these states see as their common interest and common approaches to direct defense.

This position was articulated by the Polish Minister of Defense in very clear terms: “It’s in the Polish national interest to build institutions, and I don’t see our bilateral relations with the Americans as an option or an alternate approach to NATO,” the general said, stressing Poland’s firm commitment to NATO as a non-negotiable and central element of the country’s security and foreign policy agenda.

“We don’t care about the label or brands, NATO, American — we’re talking about capability, effectiveness, readiness and so on,” he added. Poland’s closer relationship with Washington is “a signal for other countries in the Western direction, but my discussions with all of the eastern flank countries are absolutely great and we have the same visibility of the threat. There’s more a feeling of responsibility of being a regional leader.”[3]

By examining the approaches and priorities of key states in Europe towards direct defense we have highlighted a core point: the response to the variegated challenges are varied and reflect national politics and priorities with the meaning of alliances shaped by these different approaches.  In other words, the alliances provide frameworks for sharing tools, pooling resources and find common ways to operate together.

But the alliances are driven increasingly by national agendas and have meaning largely by what lead nations are prepared to do to deal with Russia and the security threats within Europe individually and as a whole.

The alliances remain important for they provide opportunities to work together as well as a statement about commitments; but they are increasingly characterized by diversity of interpretation and by a mosaic of clustering of states under the hood so to speak which leads and will lead to different priorities, and actions in a crisis as well.

In effect, what is emerging is tailored deterrence not by either the European Union or NATO but by the lead nations involved in a crisis, which will then act like magnets organizing the iron filings to define the nature of the threat to be dealt with. The danger of significant fissures opening in a crisis is real; but that threat cannot be papered over by arguing that there is an Article V in the NATO Treaty or the solidarity clause (Article 222) and mutual assistance clause (Article 42) in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which requires joint action.

The point is that there may be joint action but which action, who does it and with what political purpose is really the core of the challenge of dealing with full spectrum crisis management as Europe and the West face the evolving nature of 21st century defense and security threats.

Tailored deterrence in a crisis is combined with what one might call disaggregated deterrence whereby clusters of states act in common to take a common action, but given the nature of 21st century crisis management the challenge will be to manage the commonality throughout the duration of a crisis.

The contrasts between Northern Europe and Southern Europe with regard to direct defense are significant and stark. For the Northern Europeans, the Russians are operating significant military force from the Kola Peninsula and are doing so to support their operations into the Middle East as well as reworking their capabilities for what the West refers to as the new battle of the Atlantic.

The Nordics are enhancing their cooperative efforts, modernizing their forces and leading the way on focusing on the new warfare tools generated by the 21st century authoritarian powers.  Their priority allies are the United States and the United Kingdom given the size, scope and nature of the Russian threat, inclusive of significant changes in the Russian nuclear force as well.

For the core Southern Flank states, Greece, Spain and Italy, ongoing economic crisis, significant internal political conflict and in Italy’s case increasing disaffection with the European Union the focus is different.  With Spain, the challenge is to hold the nation together; with Greece, it is to survive economically as a nation; for Italy, the divisions within the country are widening.

This means that the return of the Russians into the Middle East is far more significant than what the Russians are doing elsewhere; the Russians have emerged as a player in the Middle Eastern dynamics and need to be approached and dealt with in terms of the Mediterranean dynamics.

There is some focus on military modernization; Spain has signed agreements to participate in the Future Combat System; Spain is the location where the A400M and the A330MRTT are built and the Spanish operate a quick reaction squadron in the Western Mediterranean for NATO as well.  The entrance of Spain into NATO in the 1980s was a key event in the cycle of collapse of a credible Soviet military approach to Europe; something that a 1980s Soviet like Putin will not forget. The Spanish engagement in replaying the memory of the Spanish Civil War in 21st century terms provides a useful venue for Russian leveraging of European fissures.

For the Italians, the security threats from both the East and the South are evident in terms of migratory pressures with their economic impact as well. Military modernization is focused on dealing with the threats from the South, so that naval and air modernization is focused in this direction.

But the impact of President Erdogan and his new Ottoman Empire policies are leading to a significant redefinition of what threats from the South mean. Will Turkey exit NATO? Will Turkey rework its relationship with Russia to pressure the West and to expand its influence in the Middle East?

Looking further North, the Central Front as known in the Cold War is gone and has moved Eastward to Poland. From an American point of view, with the virtual collapse of German defense capabilities, and with the growing rivalry with Germany in Europe and beyond, the United States is enhancing its direct defense relationship with Poland and the Poles certainly are embracing this as well.

This leaves the question of whither Germany? Obviously, much of this depends on the ongoing reconfiguration of what United Germany stands for within Europe and beyond and much of this depends on the future of the German economy.  The French government under President Macron has clearly embraced German as a defense partner and seeks to leverage that relationship as part of French defense modernization.

But the nuclear threat from Russia, both being redefined and enhanced, remains a lingering question over how direct defense will play out in a crisis. As Paul Bracken has noted in his work on the second nuclear age, the rules of how nuclear threats and diplomacy will be worked out remain to be determined. And even though no leader in Europe really wants to think about how the nuclear dimension to crisis management will play out in a world of Putin’s Russia and Trump’s America. there is a clear need not just to think about it but to shape effective crisis management approaches.

The mosaic of “Europe whole and free” provides a significant playing field for Putin. With Hungry as the virtual Trojan Horse for Western defense. The fissures from the 21st century version of the remnants of the Austrian-Hungarian empire increasingly redefine how Europe will function or not, Russia is not simply waiting to see what happens. They are acting both externally and internally within Europe in shaping function.

In short, direct defense has returned to Europe.

But it has done so as Europe itself along with its relationship with the United States is in a period of decisive change.

Perhaps no cleared example of this is Brexit Britain. Whether there is a United Kingdom five years from now is simply not clear. And the lack of clarity about the UK itself along with the effectiveness of its policies within Europe opens a rich vein on which Putin can operate within.

Rather than having a Europe whole and free accompanied by the end of history with clear engagement by North America in solid multi-lateral alliances, we have a European puzzle with pieces put together for different venues, different outcomes for different tasks.

We have a kaleidoscope of policy choices, tailored to a challenge, tailored to a crisis. And it is through that matrix that the European Union and NATO will operate and demonstrate their value or not.

[1] Robbin Laird, “Will the Coronavirus Crisis be Wasted?,” Second Line of Defense (March 27, 2020),

[2] Ross Babbage, Winning Without Fighting (CSBA, 2019, 44.

[3] Paul McLeary, “Defense Chief: With Giant Exercise Looming, Poland Looks to Lead Central Europe,” Breaking Defense (December 13, 2019),

Our new book on the Return of Direct Defense will be published next year.