Closing NATO’s Baltic Gap

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Approaching the NATO Warsaw Summit next month, the threat posed by the Kremlin to Western stability and coherence is at the very top of the agenda for many nations. For those on the front lines with Russia, first and foremost the Baltic states, this threat is felt particularly acutely. The current Russian regime has shown its willingness to use military force in Europe to undermine the existing international order and its readiness to utilise other forms of coercion across Europe in a variety of ways.

Calling attention to NATO’s ‘Baltic gap’, that is to say the strategic vulnerability of the Baltic states to Russian aggression due in part to NATO’s faltering deterrence policies, ICDS has prepared a report co-authored by three former NATO commanders, as well as the Director of ICDS, on this important topic. A copy of the report can be found here:

RUSI is pleased to welcome two authors of the report to discuss their findings in greater detail and to present their views on the broader priorities for the NATO Warsaw Summit. This event will be chaired by Professor Malcolm Chalmers (Deputy Director General of RUSI), who also has recently written about NATO’s deterrence posture; his article can be found here: He will be joined by H.E. Ambassador Jüri Luik (Director of the ICDS and former Estonian Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council) and General (Retd.) Sir Richard Shirreff KCB CBE (Senior Research Fellow at the ICDS and former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe).

If you would like to attend this event, please register at the following LINK. If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Mathiot on

Speaker Bios

Professor Malcolm Chalmers is Deputy Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He is also RUSI’s acting Research Director, and the Director of its Proliferation and Nuclear Policy programme. His research focuses on UK defence, foreign and security policy.

Chalmers was a member of the consultative panel for both the 2010 and 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Reviews (SDSR), and was a special adviser to Parliament's Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (2011-2015). He is Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, and was Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies, Kings College, London. He was previously Professorial Fellow (2007-2011) and Director of Research / Director, UK Defence Policy (2011-2015) at RUSI.

Before joining RUSI, Chalmers was a Senior Special Adviser in the FCO to Foreign Secretaries Jack Straw MP and Margaret Beckett MP.

H.E. Ambassador Jüri Luik was appointed director of ICDS from August 2015. Prior to this position, he held a number of posts both as a cabinet-level politician and a professional diplomat. Between 2012 and 2015 he served as Ambassador of Estonia to the Russian Federation. From 2007 to 2012 he served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia in the North Atlantic Council. He assumed the post after serving for four years as the Ambassador of Estonia to the United States co-accredited to Mexico and Canada.

In the Estonian Government, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1994–1995), twice as Minister of Defence (1993 and 1999–2002), and as Minister without Portfolio, Head of the Government Delegation for negotiations with Russia over the withdrawal of Russian troops (1992–1994). He was elected to the Estonian Parliament in 1992. Mr Luik holds the diplomatic rank of Ambassador. He graduated from the University of Tartu with a degree in journalism in 1989 and in 1995–96 was a Visiting Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in DC.

General (Retd.) Sir Richard Shirreff is a former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR).

Commissioned from Sandhurst into the 14th/20th King’s Hussars in 1978, his regimental service was spent in Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the Gulf and, while attached to 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles for a year, Hong Kong and Brunei. He commanded The King’s Royal Hussars 1994-1996. He attended the Army Staff Course at Camberley in 1987, the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1999 and the Foundation Term of the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2003.

Staff posts have included: Chief of Staff, Headquarters 33 Armoured Brigade; Military Assistant to the last Commander-in-Chief, British Army of the Rhine and Commander Northern Army Group; Colonel Army Plans in the Ministry of Defence; Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff; and Chief of Staff HQ LAND Command. He commanded 7th Armoured Brigade 1999-2000, amongst other things forming the core of a multinational brigade in Kosovo and 3rd (UK) Division from 2005-2007. During this time the divisional HQ deployed as HQ Multinational Division South East in Iraq between July 2006 and January 2007.

Assuming command of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in December 2007, apart from preparing the Corps for deployment in support of NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan, he also oversaw the relocation of the Corps from Germany to the United Kingdom. He served as the 27th NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) from 3 March 2011 until 1 April 2014.

For the period of January-May 2016, Sir Richard Shirreff is a Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow at the ICDS, focusing on the issue of NATO’s political-military strategy and posture in the Baltic area.

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