Central Europe’s geopolitical profile has changed significantly over the past 30 years, most noticeably as its frontier shifts eastward. During the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact occupied most of the eastern and southern coasts, closing the Baltic Sea to Western powers, while Denmark and Norway constituted the northwestern flank. Today, Russia holds just seven percent of the Baltic coastline, with its maritime stance stretched between the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and an isolated enclave in Kaliningrad. With enlarged alliances, the north should be considered as two sub-theaters—Arctic and Baltic—because although very interconnected, the Scandinavian Peninsula acts as a shield covering both the Kola Peninsula and the Baltic Sea.1
1. Luis Simón, “Assessing NATO’s Eastern European ‘Flank,’” Parameters 44(3), autumn 2014, 70.
2. Kenneth Nyholm, Itämeren alueen turvallisuuden kehityus, Rannikon Puolustaja 1, 2013, 16.
3. Ibid., 18.
4. J. C. Danckwardt, “Skandinaviens marinstrategiska betydelse,” Tiskrift i Sjöväsenet Nr 11., 1969, 666.
5. “Öppet Nato-gräl när utredningen presenterades,” Svenska Dagbladet, 9 September 2016.
6. Ralph S. Clem, “Geopolitics and Planning for a High-End Fight,” Air and Space Power Journal, spring 2016, 80.
7. David A. Shlapak and Michael W. Johnson, “Reinforcing the Defense on NATO´s Eastern Flank,” RAND Corporation, 2016, 4.
8. Dmitry Gorenburg, “Russian Naval Air Defense in Trouble,” 28 July 2016,
9. Fabrice Pothier, “An Area-Access Strategy for NATO,” Survival, June–July 2017, 78.
10. Martin Murphy, Frank Hoffman, and Gary Schaub, “Hybrid Maritime Warfare and the Baltic Sea Region” (University of Copenhagen: Center for Military Studies), November 2016.
11. Julian Lindley-French, “Seapower in the Baltic Sea, Proceedings from the Kiel Conference 2015,” Institute for Security Policy, Kiel University.
12. Christopher Coker and C. Ann-Sofie Dahl, “NATO and Baltic Sea Security,” (University of Copenhagen: Center for Military Studies), 2016.
13. Pothier, “An Area-Access Strategy for NATO,” 74.