This paper will discuss the Resistance Operating Concept and how nations should prepare to resist a potential enemy before an invasion takes place. Oriented towards the self-defense of small countries by a resistance or partisan force, it describes past examples of resistance groups in Europe. Specifically, by discussing the long-term survival of resilient organizations, its focus will be on the basic factors crucial for an underground resistance, including security, organization, and training. It also considers the need for a practitioner-oriented manual that can be disseminated at the widest levels to guide and enable future resistance operations.
Russia’s aggressive actions in the vicinity of the borders of the Baltic states have stirred the discussion on the Comprehensive defense concept. This concept is based on whole-of-government and whole-of-society involvement in resistance against occupying power. This article examines the role of the armed forces in the resistance movement from a small state perspective. To define the role of the armed forces, this article scrutinizes the historical experience of the Latvian Forest Brothers and the traditional development phases of the resistance movement. The article argues that the armed forces must form the backbone of the armed resistance, which integrates the other security forces and the civilian population into the national level resistance movement.
In preparation for gray zone or conventional warfare conducted by Russian or Chinese adversaries and their proxies, threatened nations can apply a Total Defense approach to safeguard their territorial integrity and political sovereignty. Two key components for any effective Total Defense concept are national special operations forces (SOF) and volunteer, citizen-soldier territorial defense forces (TDF). This article examines the role of special operations forces as significant multi-dimensional, entrepreneurial integrators in Total Defense. In particular, it demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between special operations and territorial defense forces in the complex mission of national resistance during crisis and occupation.
Due to Russia’s continuous malicious actions against the Baltic and Scandinavian countries, as well as its ongoing war against Ukraine, most European countries have recently been forced to take a critical look at their national defense strategies and military capabilities. These reviews unearthed serious capability gaps, resulting in the emergence of so-called total defense strategies based on peacetime social resilience and war time resistance. This article focuses on resistance, arguing that the current manifestations of such a strategy do not ensure maximum results for the countries because their fundamental characteristics and principles were derived from cases that are limited in spatial and temporal scope. The article suggests that lessons must be also learned from recent experiences such as the Chechen resistance against Russia, Hezbollah’s fight against Israel, the Iraqi and Taliban insurgencies, the Syrian insurgency, and other similar cases. This article offers a starting point for identifying such critical lessons by analyzing the First Russo-Chechen War through a research model built on the common principles of Mao Zedong, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Should the U.S. respond with military means to a limited Russian incursion in the Baltics? This paper explores Western attitudes towards such a hypothetical grey zone crisis. Using survey experiments and crisis simulations we find considerable reluctance to use military tools in order to support a Baltic ally, and surprisingly little variation across the audiences. The underlying reluctance to get the U.S. involved in an armed conflict with Russia in the hopes that such acquiescence may help preserve global stability indicates that the conflict in Ukraine only had a fundamentally limited impact on Western strategic thought on deterring Russia.