In the latest CDA Institute Vimy Paper, Andris Banka of Çağ University explores Canada’s role as lead nation in NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battle-group in Latvia and the part deterrence plays in shoring up the security of the Baltic republics.
Canada assumed the lead-nation role for the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battle-group in Latvia in the summer of 2017. The deployment of troops and military hardware represents Ottawa’s largest involvement on the European continent in more than a decade. The following article offers a nuanced look at the Canadian presence in Latvia, assessing the nature of this deployment, challenges that it faces and the extent to which this multinational force formation is capable of deterring a country like Russia.
The first section looks at the growing links and diplomatic ties between Canada and Latvia and lays out a political and historical background of NATO’s decision to establish an enhanced forward presence in eastern parts of Alliance territory. The subsequent section focuses on the geo-strategic location of the Baltic republics and consequences that flow from their geographical proximity to the Russian Federation. After this, the article provides a foundational understanding of deterrence: its logic, typology and mode of operation. It also discusses specifics of the eFP deterrence and its intended effects. Furthermore, the analysis seeks to address some of the arguments that have been raised by the critics of the mission. The article concludes with practical policy prescriptions for strengthening NATO’s eastern flank.