Response to A2/AD

Think tank: Enhanced US presence key to combating Russia

The American Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) recommends that Poland should be the site for the permanent command of a division of the US army, rocket artillery and anti-aircraft defense, logistical support and that this would be an adequate response to Russia’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy on NATO’s eastern flank.

The CSBA report "Strengthening the Defense of NATO’s Eastern Frontier” contains recommendations for the Central European region. It was published just after the draft of the Pentagon’s 2020 budget was revealed and before the anticipated Defense Department report on strengthening US military presence in Poland. 

The recommendations are a response to the Russian access area denial strategy which includes hybrid activities that were evident in the Ukrainian conflict as well as strike capacity to gather large forces quickly to outnumber NATO forces. The report analyses Russian A2/AD potential in rocket systems, air defenses, cybersecurity and conventional artillery.

The increased US presence in Poland is to be a response to Russia’s A2/AD capacity. Poland is assessed to be the ideal location for such an enhanced presence. 

The CSBA analysis implies that the most likely outcome for enhancing the US presence in Poland is a mix of permanent and rotational forces

The report assesses the advantages and disadvantages of permanent and rotational presence and argues that although a permanent presence maybe more economical in the long-term and create a greater pool of knowledge of local conditions, rotational forces have the advantage of greater flexibility and combat readiness potential. 

The report recommends a permanent Mission Command Element for a US division, rocket artillery and air defense, enablers for electronic combat and tank brigade. It also argues for increasing the capability for transferring troops within Europe, upgrading Army Prepositioned Stock capacity and increasing resilience of units in Europe.

The CSBA analysis along with other US think tank reports, and the views of the commander of US forces in Europe, implies that the most likely outcome for enhancing the US presence in Poland is a mix of permanent and rotational forces. 

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