RAND Corporation, Research AND Development, an American nonprofit global policy think tank, published a report, based on a series of wargames between summer 2014 and spring 2015.
Examinations of possible Russian conventional aggression against the three Baltic members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization showed that it may take Russian forces 60 hours to reach the outskirts of Tallinn and Riga.
The RAND findings are unambiguous: NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members, in this case former Soviet republics – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Russia has the potential to achieve a rapid overrun of one or more of the Baltic states. However, the RAND analysis also indicates that relatively modest investments in improved posture could allow NATO to greatly reduce Moscow’s confidence in its ability to score a quick, cheap victory, enhancing deterrence and contributing to restabilizing the relationship between Russia and its Western neighbors.
Among another findings the RAND report states that while this deterrent posture would not be inexpensive in absolute terms, it is not unaffordable, especially in comparison with the potential costs of failing to defend NATO’s most exposed and vulnerable allies.