Consortium Leader: Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’
Consortium Member: The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)
Subcontractor: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Nuclear Command and Control and Strategic Stability

Submitted by Inge on Sat, 09/02/2023 - 10:19

Paper series - Strategic Stability: Deterrence and Arms Control

Strategic stability refers to the ability of states to interact during crises without escalating diplomatic and conventional military disputes to the use of nuclear weapons. This essay evaluates the effects of nuclear command and control systems on strategic stability in crisis scenarios. The essay argues that states with command and control systems that delegate the ability to use nuclear weapons to lower-level commanders early in a crisis create conditions that endanger strategic stability and risk unintended nuclear escalation. Concerningly, such nuclear command and control arrangements increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons are used in conflict, even if neither side in a crisis formally crosses an established red line beforehand. This study defines the concept of nuclear command and control, details the challenges that command and control systems pose for strategic stability, identifies challenges to strategic stability in Europe and East Asia, and discusses opportunities for policymakers to reinforce strategic stability in those regions. Although nuclear command and control systems are difficult to shape directly, policymakers can promote strategic stability by engaging in near-term efforts to strengthen nuclear deterrence and long-term efforts to achieve limited arms control agreements between countries.

 

The authors

Giles David Arceneaux

Edited by Paul van Hooft - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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HCSS

Future European Contributions to Arms Control

Submitted by Inge on Sat, 09/02/2023 - 10:14

Paper series - Strategic Stability: Deterrence and Arms Control

Future European Contributions to Arms Control: Compete to Negotiate

Increasing violence by revisionist regimes in China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea is breaking the current arms control regime. European countries can best respond to this challenge by leaning into military technical competition in the short term to produce better arms control results over the longer term. Effective military-technical competition serves to reinforce deterrence as a prerequisite to negotiations; incentivise adversaries to negotiate seriously and make meaningful concessions; and compel rivals to abide by agreements once concluded. European countries should consider how they can best stand with other law-abiding nations around the world to compete more effectively in military technology and structure future negotiations with an eye towards restraining violent revisionist challenges.

 

The authors

John D. Maurer

Edited by Paul van Hooft - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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HCSS

The war in Ukraine

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 07/26/2023 - 15:47

Adapting the EU’s security and defence policy

Russia’s war in Ukraine is violating the rules-based international order and poses a significant threat to European security. The EU and NATO have responded by taking coordinated action. The measures taken have varied from unprecedented sanctions on Russia to assisting Ukraine with the delivery of arms and ammunition. The war in Ukraine has led to an even stronger focus on collective defence, which was already put in motion after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Furthermore, the European security architecture has witnessed a significant change with Finland (and later this year Sweden) joining the North Atlantic Alliance. At the Vilnius Summit (11-12 July 2023), NATO has taken new decisions to strengthen its deterrence and defence posture.

The authors

Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit at the Clingendael Institute

Adája Stoetman, Research Fellow at the Security Unit of the Clingendael Institute

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Pathways to Disaster

Submitted by Inge on Mon, 05/22/2023 - 11:35

Pathways to Disaster: Russia’s War against Ukraine and the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear Escalation

The risk of inadvertent nuclear escalation due to policies in the conventional domain is a serious, and underrated, feature of the current stand-off between NATO and Russia that has followed Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. NATO leaders and armed forces need to be conscious of unintended signals that can follow the placement of weapons, the movement of forces, and support to Ukraine, especially considering the state of the Russian armed forces.

Given the growing stresses and strains on Russian capabilities, stocks, and organisation, multiple pathways appear towards inadvertent escalation. We identify four: (1) uncertainty whether intentions are offensive or defensive, also known as the security dilemma; (2) the nature of military organisations; (3) general informational complexity; and (4) comingling or entanglement of conventional and nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and enablers.

The brief applies the four mechanisms to current trends in Russia and notes that evidence exists for all four pathways.

 

The authors

Paul van Hooft, Davis Ellison & Tim Sweijs - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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HCSS

Good Fear, Bad Fear

Submitted by Inge on Sat, 04/22/2023 - 11:40

Good Fear, Bad Fear: How European defence investments could be leveraged to restart arms control negotiations with Russia

Europeans have a stake in reinvigorating the arms control regime in Europe and bringing Russia back to the negotiating table. They cannot afford to rely and wait on the United States. The brief offers investments that Europeans can make to incentivise Russia to discuss nuclear warhead ceilings, delivery systems, and transparency.

 

The authors

Paul van Hooft & Davis Ellison - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

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HCSS

Countering hybrid threats

Submitted by Inge on Tue, 03/28/2023 - 17:07

The role of the Joint Expeditionary Force

Russia’s war in Ukraine has fundamentally changed the international order that is based on norms and values of state sovereignty and international law. While the Balkan wars in the nineties were the result of internal turmoil leading to the collapse of Yugoslavia, the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict marks the return of large-scale interstate warfare in Europe for the first time since the end of the Second World War. A year after the Russian invasion was launched on 24 February 2022, valuable lessons can already be drawn for the characteristics of modern warfare. The conflict has shown – both in the run-up to the invasion as well as after the start of the war – that non-military aspects are part of Russia’s strategy. Well-known examples are the abuse of the European ‘oil and gas dependency’ on Russia, the spread of disinformation, cyberattacks and the channelling of refugees and migration flows. What these means have in common is that they are aimed at undermining the unity of the West and destabilising their societies and democracies. This very complex set of hybrid threats raises new questions on how to respond to them, as the hybrid domain requires the involvement of many different actors at the national and international level: from various ministries and even private companies (such as the energy sector) to the EU and NATO.

As hybrid challenges have become an integral part of modern conflict, the question has arisen what kind of role should be laid down for the armed forces. Hybrid challenges are very often of a transboundary and non-military nature. Therefore, they have to be addressed primarily by civil actors. But in addition, the military can also play a role in countering hybrid threats, and this raises the question of the role of multinational (military) formats such as the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). The JEF is a multinational military formation of northern European countries with the United Kingdom as the lead nation. Since 2019, the JEF has increasingly focused its activities on the hybrid domain. The war in Ukraine has been a catalyst for increased cooperation in the JEF context at the political, policy and military operational levels. The Russian threat, both physically (conventional forces) and virtually/digitally, has become the main focus of attention. It is in the latter category of threats that the JEF Nations are struggling with the question of what its role should be.

This report explores the possible role of the JEF in hybrid conflicts and how cooperation in the JEF can be attained. The first chapter addresses the role of military forces in responding to hybrid threats and what the JEF has realised in this context so far. Particular attention will be given to the challenges of but also the opportunities for connecting military activities with those of non-military actors. The second chapter focusses on the roles of NATO and the EU in the hybrid domain and how the JEF could relate to the efforts of these international organisations. The potential impact of the future NATO membership of Finland and Sweden – both JEF Participating Nations – is also addressed. The third chapter zooms in on the potential of the JEF’s role and functions in the hybrid domain and how this should be implemented. The growing political character of the JEF cooperation is also addressed. The report ends with a list of conclusions and recommendations for the Netherlands.
The methodology used for this report consists of a mix of literature research and a series of interviews with government representatives and members of think tanks in a selection of JEF Nations as well as with staff officers at the JEF Headquarters, at the NATO Headquarters and at EU institutions. These interviews were held under the application of the Chatham House rule. The authors are grateful to all interviewees for their valuable contributions.

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Authors

Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit at the Clingendael Institute

Adája Stoetman, Research Fellow at the Security Unit of the Clingendael Institute

 

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Military capabilities affected by climate change

Submitted by Inge on Mon, 01/09/2023 - 17:16

An analysis of China, Russia and the United States

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of the present and the future. Rising temperatures and sea levels, as well as extreme weather events are manifestations of climate change that also influence military capabilities. Increased attention for the climate change-security nexus is visible both at the national and the international level: nationally through the incorporation of climate change in security strategies and internationally through incorporation in important strategic documents such as the EU’s Strategic Compass and NATO’s Strategic Concept.

Given its transnational nature, governments around the world have a shared responsibility to face climate change. A particular role is laid down for the global powers, China, Russia and the United States, given their position in the world. It is, however, questionable whether the global powers’ interests align. They differ in their approaches to address climate change, and even more so in their views on how it affects the armed forces. China and particularly Russia are more reluctant towards depicting climate change as a matter of international security. This is for example visible in international forums, such as the UN Security Council. In contrast, in the US, support for climate action is subject to political preferences, but climate related security risks are widely recognised within the defence establishment.

This report reviews various aspects of the relationship between climate and security, with a particular focus on the military. It discusses the role of climate change in a country’s security and defence strategy and, vice versa, the changing tasks and deployment of the armed forces in response to climate change, the effects of climate change on military infrastructure, and measures to realise a greener defence sector.

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Authors

Adája Stoetman, Research Fellow at the Security Unit of the Clingendael Institute

Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit at the Clingendael Institute

Ties Dams, Research Fellow at the Clingendael China Centre

Niels Drost, Junior Researcher at the Clingendael Russia & Eastern Europe Centre and the EU & Global Affairs Unit

Louise van Schaik, Head of Unit EU & Global Affairs at the Clingendael Institute

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Realising the EU Hybrid Toolbox: opportunities and pitfalls

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 12/14/2022 - 16:22

In recent years European and other nations have been increasingly targeted by different manipulation or coercion tactics that remain under the threshold of violence, and are commonly referred to as hybrid threat. For instance, in 2016 the elections in the United States were manipulated by a foreign state actor through targeted propaganda and the leaking of hacked material that compromised one of the presidential candidates. In the same year the British referendum on remaining in the European Union was also targeted by sophisticated propaganda efforts.The need to counter these threats and deal with them comprehensively has therefore been acknowledged in the EU Strategic Compass. It provides for the development of a toolbox to put at the disposal of member states a wide range of measures to respond to hybrid campaigns, should they choose to invoke the assistance of the EU. This EU Hybrid Toolbox (EUHT) intends to gather all civilian and military instruments that can be employed to counter hybrid campaigns. Operationalisation was intended by the end of 2022 but this no longer seems attainable. However, the conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated the importance of having a coordinated reaction capability to counter hybrid campaigns and is likely to provide the momentum to bring the development of the EUHT to fruition.

This policy brief examines the most recent progress on operationalising the EUHT.

First, the rationale for the EUHT is explained. Next, the state of play in the operationalization process is analysed. The subsequent section focusses on the difficulties stemming from differences of opinion between the member states, followed by an assessment of the issues surrounding decision-making. After suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of the EUHT are given, the policy brief ends with conclusions and a listing of opportunities and pitfalls.

Authors

Kenneth Lasoen, Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute

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Not one without the other

Submitted by Inge on Tue, 12/06/2022 - 13:17

Not one without the other
Realigning deterrence and arms control in a European quest for strategic stability

With strategic competition between the great powers accelerating, prospects for missile arms control are bleak. The architecture once designed to limit the risks associated with the production, proliferation, deployment and employment of missiles and their technologies has crumbled as existing agreements were abandoned and as strategic and technological shifts rendered remaining ones increasingly inapt. Even though arms control and its demise are often framed as an issue pertaining predominantly to the United States, Russia, and increasingly also China, their security implications stretch well beyond today’s major military powers. Indeed, despite a persistent lack of interest among Europeans over the past decades regarding developments in missile technology and the strategic calculus, their continent’s security is severely affected by these developments. Therefore, and despite limited manoeuvre space for small and middle powers in this field, options must be explored for Europe to actively shape or at least participate in efforts to reinvigorate arms control and more generally stability. Indeed, even if Thucydides’ notion that “the strong do what they can; the weak suffer what they must” applies rather aptly to this field, medium-size missile powers are not left entirely empty-handed.

Authors

Lotje Boswinkel and Paul van Hooft - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

With contributions from Michal Gorecki

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Wikimedia Commons

Realising the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity

Submitted by Inge on Mon, 10/31/2022 - 16:11

Opportunities and pitfalls

When the European Union’s Strategic Compass had almost been completed in late February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Consequently, the language on Russia in the Compass text was adapted to a more bellicose content. However, the military level of ambition remained unchanged as it had already been agreed informally by the EU member states. At the end of March, when the Council formally adopted the Compass, the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC) became the new focal point for crisis management tasks in the context of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Although the attention of strategists, defence planners and armaments experts has shifted further towards strengthening collective defence as a result of the war in Ukraine and the outcome of the NATO Madrid Summit, instability in the areas to Europe’s south and south-east remains the norm rather than the exception. The EU RDC has to provide the EU with the military capability to be deployed in crisis situations when needed, also taking into account that the United States (US) is less likely to act in Europe’s southern neighbourhood in the future. Ambitious targets have been set with regard to the flexible composition of the RDC and to the timeline of its initial operational status in 2025.

This policy brief examines the milestones to be reached towards the year 2025 – in other words ‘what should be done in the near future’. Three aspects are given particular attention: the question of using the existing format of the EU Battlegroups as building blocks for the RDC; the issue of how to speed up decision-making; and the question of capability shortfalls. This is followed by conclusions on the opportunities and pitfalls that the EU and its member states may encounter up until 2025 and beyond.

Authors 

Dick Zandee, Head of the Security Unit & Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute

Adája Stoetman, Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute

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