Can NATO’s new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force deter?
Chief among the Welsh summit initiatives was the decision to set up a new multinational 'spearhead' force - the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) - as part of an enhanced NATO Response Force (NRF) and within the framework of a Readiness Action Plan (RAP). The VJFT was announced an operational capacity at NATO's summit in Warsaw in July 2016 - indicating a serious approach to deterrence. Credible deterrence requires not only adequate military capacities, such as the VJTF: it also requires a proper doctrine that can pull the capacities credibly together, and then a culture of decision-making and communication to establish NATO's reputation for resolve. Capacities, doctrine and culture - these are key dimensions of NATO's deterrence posture. The politically convenient option for NATO is 'deterrence by denial'-which would entail denying Russia access to NATO territory and riches. The political appeal lies in the promise of upholding the inviolability - the sanctity - of all NATO territory.