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Viewing cable 09USNATO464, ACTION REQUEST: BALTIC CONTINGENCY PLANNING: SOME

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09USNATO464 2009-10-20 16:04 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Mission USNATO
VZCZCXRO4913
OO RUEHDBU RUEHSL
DE RUEHNO #0464/01 2931658
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 201658Z OCT 09
FM USMISSION USNATO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3502
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 6537
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 7164
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 0013
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS PRIORITY 7310
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USDELMC BRUSSELS BE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/USNMR SHAPE BE PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 USNATO 000464

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DNG: CO 10/18/2029
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL NATO ZB RS
SUBJECT: ACTION REQUEST: BALTIC CONTINGENCY PLANNING: SOME
IDEAS

REF: A. VILNIUS 533
B. VILNIUS 527
C. TALLIN 309
D. RIGA 514
E. SECRETARY (SECTO) 007

Classified By: Ambassador Ivo Daalder.  Reasons: 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (SBU) This is an action request.  See paragraph 10.

2. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Leaders in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
are pressing hard for NATO Article 5 contingency planning for
the Baltic states.  President Obama and Secretary Clinton are
on record supporting such contingency planning for Allies.
At the same time, however, NATO internal processes and
politics make it difficult to openly carry out such planning,
particularly if it would require specifying Russia as a
potential threat.  Nevertheless, there are possible ways to
meet the substance of Baltic demands.  The existing
contingency plan for Poland, for example, might be modified
to include the Baltics or generic plans for the use of the
NATO Response Force could be exercised and certified in a
manner consistent with Baltic defense.  We request high-level
interagency discussion of the issue to develop the substance
and NATO tactics of Baltic planning and exercises.  END
SUMMARY

Why Baltic Contingency Planning?
--------------------------------

3. (S/NF) As reported in refs A-D, leaders in Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania are pressing hard for NATO Article 5
contingency planning for the defense of the Baltics.  The
Administration at the highest levels is on record supporting
such efforts.  President Obama told NATO Secretary General
Rasmussen this during the latter's September 28-29 trip to
Washington.  Furthermore, Secretary Clinton told her
colleagues at the September 22 "Trans-Atlantic Dinner" in New
York that the U.S. wants more work on Article 5 contingency
plans (ref E).

The Difficulties
----------------

4. (S/NF) At the same time, the internal processes and
politics of the Alliance make it unlikely that a Baltic-only
Article 5 contingency plan could be developed.  NATO
contingency plans are designed for possible future security
risks that are consistent with NATO's General Intelligence
Estimate (MC 161) and NATO Ministerial Guidance.  While
Admiral Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe
(SACEUR), does have the authority to generate, review and
revise contingency plans based on changes in the strategic
security environment, those changes to the security
environment would need to be reflected in MC 161.  Without a
change to MC 161, SACEUR does not have the authority to
develop new Article 5 contingency plans.  Moreover, changes
to MC 161 are not made by SACEUR.  They must be agreed by the
NAC.

5. (S/NF) In this case, the Baltic states clearly believe
that the Russian Federation represents a future security risk
and desire a contingency plan to address that risk.  And
therein lies the problem.  While the exact content of MC 161
cannot be discussed in this message, post-Cold War NATO has
consistently said that it no longer views Russia as a threat.
Allies, for example, agreed to language in the 1997
NATO-Russia Founding Act that "NATO and Russia do not
consider each other as adversaries."  As we saw during the
debates over the Russia-Georgia war, many Allies will take
great pains to avoid even the suggestion that the Alliance
and Russia are on course toward a new Cold War.  Countries
such as Germany are unlikely to agree changes to MC 161 that
explicitly define Russia as a potential threat, preferring
instead to argue that the Alliance needs to find a way to
work cooperatively with Moscow.

USNATO 00000464  002 OF 003

But Hard is Not "Too Hard"
--------------------------

6. (S/NF) Despite these difficulties, however, there are
steps that can be taken to meet the substance of the Baltic
demands and demonstrate the Allied commitment to their
defense.  As a start, SACEUR did begin conducting informal
"prudent planning" efforts within his own Headquarters in the
wake of the Russian-Georgian war.  These efforts should
continue.  Furthermore, the existing NATO contingency plan
for Poland is up for revision.  We could explore the
possibility of revising this plan to include the
reinforcement/defense of the Baltics as an element of the
reinforcement/defense of Poland.  Indeed, this idea was first
raised by the German PermRep in conversation with Ambassador
Daalder.  NATO also has a number of agreed generic
contingency plans for the NATO Response Force (NRF),
including for relatively high-end "initial entry operations."
Perhaps these generic NRF plans can be exercised/certified
in a manner that would be consistent with the defense of the
Baltics.  Finally, we could pursue a generic Article 5
Alliance-wide contingency plan which would be applicable to
multiple threats.

Necessary for NATO-Russia; Expeditionary Forces
--------------------------------------------- --

7. (S/NF) Baltic reassurance can not be seen in isolation.
Our ability to move forward with other U.S. priorities at
NATO will be affected by our ability to reassure the Baltic
states.  For example, our ability to maintain an Allied
consensus on re-engagement with Moscow will depend on it.
Furthermore, the Baltic states have made clear that if they
do not feel they can trust Allies to defend them, they will
have to consider developing a force structure focused on
territorial defense rather than on expeditionary capabilities.

U.S. Reassurance Does Not Equal NATO Reassurance
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. (S/NF) The U.S. has taken a number of bilateral steps to
reassure the Baltics, including tasking the U.S. European
Command (which ADM Stavridis heads under his U.S.-only hat)
to develop a plan for supporting NATO deterrence and defense
in the Baltic region.  While these efforts can be useful in
supporting NATO contingency planning and reassurance efforts,
if done on their own they could actually undermine our
efforts to reassure the Baltic states that all NATO Allies
will carry out their Article 5 commitments.  Defense of the
Baltics must remain a NATO Article 5 commitment, not solely a
U.S. bilateral one.  Unless consensus can be achieved within
the Alliance to take positive steps in this direction, the
Baltic states will continue to lose faith in the Alliance,
undercutting a key U.S. strategic objective.  Washington
should not allow U.S. bilateral reassurance efforts to become
an easy substitute for NATO-wide efforts.

Recommended Way Ahead
---------------------

9. (S/NF) Ambassador Daalder has been having quiet
conversations with some Allies, as well as with SACEUR, to
see what might be possible.  We believe that a key aspect of
any approach would be to socialize the NAC on the issue
through briefings by SACEUR on current plans and the extent
to which they satisfy the requirement to defend Allied
territory.  In addition to further consideration of the ideas
in para 6 above, Mission proposes the following as an initial
way ahead on this issue that we should seek to set in train:

-- The Military Committee should task NATO Military
Authorities to review the current family of contingency plans
to determine if they are sufficient to meet NATO's Article 5
commitments;

USNATO 00000464  003 OF 003

-- The North Atlantic Council should ask SACEUR to brief
PermReps on the status of these plans and on their ability to
provide for the defense/protection of Allied territory,
populations, and Alliance interests;

-- SHAPE should request that each Ally assess its own
national plans and national contributions in support of these
plans;

-- Strategic communications/public messaging regarding NATO
contingency planning would allow the Alliance to highlight
its efforts to provide for the protection of Alliance
territory from the range of threats;

-- Ongoing Strategic Concept discussion and seminars should
be used to identify new security threats and ways to meet
those threats.  This process could help build consensus for
new contingency planning efforts;

-- The U.S. should consider the possibility/suitability of
adapting the upcoming USEUCOM bilateral exercise, "Baltic
Host 2010," into a NATO deterrence and defense of the Baltic
states exercise; and

-- As NATO contingency plans are developed, task the
development of supporting USEUCOM contingency plans.

10. (S/NF) Mission requests that a NATO IPC be scheduled in
the near future to discuss this issue further, with a view to
developing a coherent interagency-agreed strategy on how to
take forward the President's vision of contingency planning
in NATO.
DAALDER