The next largest exercise conducted by NATO allies was Norway’s COLD RESPONSE with 15,000 personnel.Among others, Russia conducted four exercises involving between 25,000 and 38,000 personnel.They are an important means by which Moscow attempts to intimidate it neighbors...Now In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other provocations, NATO promulgated its Readiness Action Plan (RAP) during the Alliance’s September 2014 summit meeting in Wales, United Kingdom.A key element of the RAP is a more robust exercise regime to reinforce NATO’s deterrence end defense posture.The updated chart below captures exercises involving 5,000 or more personnel.It indicates that over the last two years, the exercise gap has narrowed, but it still remains a poor reflection of NATO’s readiness and determination in contrast to that of its eastern adversary.EFP’s deterrent value will be a function of the combat capability of its battalions and the Alliance’s ability to rapidly reinforce the Baltic region in crisis and conflict.And the latter will only be credible if it is tested and demonstrated regularly through robust exercises proximate to the line of confrontation.
Russia recently announced plans to conduct the next iteration of its ZAPAD [WEST] exercises in 2017.The updated chart below captures much of that data and indicates that since then, the NATO-Russia Exercise Gap, though reduced, remains strategically significant. In 20, Russia frequently executed large scale exercises.These included at least six drills involving between 65,000 and 155,000 personnel – four of them over 100,000 personnel each.Russia’s chief of the General staff boasted that last September’s KAVKAZ-16 involved some 120,000 personnel – though some analysts assert this total camouflages an amalgamation of separate exercises.
NATO stepped up its game, conducting larger exercises, but none came close to matching Russia’s largest drills.
Cutting through this fog of fact and disinformation, CEPA Strat Com is launching "The Road to Zapad 2017" - an in-depth resource to track and analyze the lead up to Zapad 2017 and its outcomes.