The benefits of having naval forces in the area and ready to respond with scalable defense options are undeniable.
Great power competition has created an opportunity for the United States Navy to bolster alliances and partnerships, hone its capabilities, and deter a resurgent Russia through increased operations in the Baltic region. America should boost its naval activity specifically in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and in North Atlantic approaches to these waters. Also, the U.S. should pursue a strategy of persistent regional maritime presence as a means to advance national interests through unscheduled, and short notice, deployments, and patrols by U.S. warships.
The National Security Strategy reaffirmed that “a strong and free Europe is of vital importance” while the National Defense Strategy went even further, stating the need to “fortify” NATO and work with European allies and partners to deter “Russian adventurism” and aggression. America’s Navy fleet structure is already changing to address dynamic challenges from Russia but is not a substitute for sending forces forward. Increased naval operations in the Baltic would signal steadfast U.S. commitment and provide a mobile force capable of addressing regional maritime challenges. Furthermore, the benefits of having naval forces in the area and ready to respond with scalable defense options are undeniable.