"Strategic Deterrence" in the North. Implications of Russian Maritime Defence Planning and Seapower to Norwegian Maritime Strategy
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Aiming to contribute on research cumulation on Russian military affairs in general and maritime defence planning and seapower in general, the thesis objectives are twofold in exploring Russian maritime defence planning and seapower in the North since 1999 while analysing its strategic and operational implications to Norwegian maritime strategy. The thesis' necessarily interdisciplinary research design thus carries a significant maritime disposition as its analysis is primarily one of maritime thinking and its interfaces with political and military strategy. To that end, the theoretical and analytical framework combines elements of naval theory and Civil-Military Relations (CMR) in order to prescribe proper conceptual tools aiding its study while employing Comparative Historical Analysis (CHA) allowing longitudinal comparison of within-variation and its analytical tool of process-tracing aiding causal inference from probing for continuity and change in Russian maritime defence planning and seapower. What becomes evident in sum is how the North has figured prominently throughout with an increased prominence prescribed to the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) and maritime strategy in national frameworks. Whereas Russian threat perceptions have fuelled military modernisation and reforms focusing on combat capability, boesposobnost, and combat readiness, boegotovnost, in line with a shift to Network-Enabled Capability (NEC), strategic thinking and operational art demonstrates significant continuity through the inherently asymmetric, universal and continuous concept of "strategic deterrence", strategischeskoe sderzhivanie, in deterring, containing and coercing in times of peace, crisis and war-to which Norwegian territory lend itself of particular use while exposing Norway and NATO to significant power-wielding in differing ways. As the principal objective of naval rearmament, what emerges from Russian maritime defence planning and seapower is a naval force whose seapower is restrained to coastal defence and power projection in adjacent seas with an enhanced capacity for sea control and sea denial-the sum of which in the North manifests as an "arc of steel" with significant strategic and operational implications for Norwegian maritime strategy. Critically, Russian defence planner's preoccupation with the strategic deterrence concept and a regime of Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD) and precision-guided munitions (PGM) to support it has solidified the Royal Norwegian Navy's (RNoN) need for forward-based presence based on an operational approach of area-access employing the fleet's mobility and firepower, while increasing its dependence upon the exploitation of the coastline for survivability and as a force multiplier in order to fulfil the tasks set by the maritime strategy-demanding coastal defence capabilities and sufficient degrees of sea denial and sea control cross-spectrum.