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Activity title

Deterrence And Assurance Within An Alliance Framework

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System Analysis and Studies

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Awaiting Publication

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Assurance, Burden Sharing, Comprehensive Approach, Cyber domain, Deterrence, Diffuse Threats, Enhanced Forward Presence, Force Posture, Hybrid Threats, International Relations, Military Planning, Non State Actors, Risk, Strategic Analysis


Deterrence and Assurance (D&A) are often discussed as part of strategic military planning and decision making related to Force Posture, Readiness and Operations. In the current security environment, they play a revived role in how nations conceive of conflict prevention and underpin the Alliance’s core tasks. The commitments made to NATO’s enhanced forward presence at the Warsaw Summit are but one example, whereby actions are undertaken to convince a potential aggressor that consequences of coercion or armed conflict would outweigh the potential gains, while assuring allies through assistance and presence. There is also a heightened awareness of the challenges posed by non-state actors, and by the emergence of new domains (i.e., cyber) and technologies. These will require new thinking on the meaning of D&A. However, theoretical understandings of D&A have been slow to evolve. National ideas of D&A also differ, as do practical conceptions from the recent theoretical literature. To that end, it would prove useful to review national and Alliance understandings of D&A to identify areas of commonality, definitional or philosophical difference, and to compare these conceptions to those found in literature. Deterrence and Assurance measures have not sufficiently evolved in response to the profound changes in the security environment. Consequently, there is limited practical guidance for decision makers, planners and assessors.


The aim is to develop a thorough understanding of D&A in a contemporary context, and provide recommendations for how these concepts are used as part of military planning, education and training. To achieve this goal, the group will: • Review national and Alliance understandings of the concepts, and evaluate them against the theoretical work in the area with reference to potential threat scenarios (accomplished through a symposium); • Identify a way forward to address gaps in contemporary understanding of existing D&A concepts, with a view to proposing amendments and developing methods for planning and assessment at the Alliance or national levels.


• Deterrence / Assurance theories (incl. nuclear) • Resilience • Hybrid threats • Cyber domain • Burden/risk-sharing • Non-state actors / violent extremist organizations • Strategic communications • Comprehensive approach

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