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Activity title

Threshold concepts for and by smaller forces

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System Analysis and Studies

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Awaiting Publication

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A2AD, Deterence, Minimal Force Structure


The main problem we want to address is how a smaller country can make the threshold for a potential attacker as high as possible, but within affordable limits. What strategies or military concepts can smaller forces choose from and how can we design cost-effective force structures to deter an attacker? The main reason for nations to have defence forces is to deter a potential aggressor from using military force.


To execute two workshops, bringing together NATO-bodies and nations to explore and examine and share strategies and military concepts that smaller forces can choose from to deter an aggressor.


Spring meeting: Conceptual aspects of deterrence applicable to small states in the context of conventional warfare. 1) How to understand threshold? What makes deterrence credible? 2) How to measure effectiveness threshold and how much is enough? 3) How have states with small forces approached the challenge? Fall meeting: 1) Situational Awareness - criteria of selecting High Value Targets; the most effective means (weapon systems) of engaging HVT from the viewpoint of a small force; identifying types of targets that would give a small force the most advantage. 2) How to shorten own reaction time. 3) Situational awareness – indications, markers, warnings. 4) Decision time and mobilization – is there a reasonable balance between immediate/rapid reaction (professional) and reserve-based force components. 5) Anti-access/Area Denial (A2/AD) – How to counter the adversary air superiority; how to influence adversary systems (e.g., use of SOF); how to organise/manage own air operations.

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