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The war in Ukraine gives NATO urgent reason to reassess the resilience of its member states, finds a new report from LSE IDEAS, The London School of Economics’ foreign policy think tank.

The report was drafted on the basis of a discussion led by General Sir James Everard, Former NATO DSACEUR and Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS.

According to the report, authored by Hugh Sandeman, Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and Jonny Hall, International Relations Department Fellow at LSE, resilience is “a society’s ability to resist and recover from such shocks as natural disaster, failure of critical infrastructure, or hybrid or armed attack” and has “political and psychological as well as physical dimensions”.

Strong resilience, the authors note, can act as a deterrent against aggressive actions above and below the threshold of war.
“Effective and visible resilience is strongly linked to deterrence by denial, which seeks to deter actions by making them appear unlikely to succeed,” the report notes.

The report outlines seven baseline goals set by NATO members at the 2016 Warsaw Summit, and reaffirmed at the 2021 Brussels Summit: “continuity of government and critical government services, energy supplies, uncontrolled movement of people, food and water, mass casualties, civil communications, and civil transportation”.

According to Sandeman and Hall, these objectives should be refined to four points: “continuity in energy and essential supplies, the security of the digital realm to ensure key socio-economic functions, maintaining the independence of critical technologies beyond the control of adversaries, and the ability to detect and dispel disinformation”. The report claims that increased consultation with allies around these four objectives represents a more feasible approach to strengthening alliance-wide resilience.

The authors also recommend that improved communication with both internal and external audiences will be essential to fostering resilience within NATO.


The report, NATO’s Resilience: The first and last line of defence, can be accessed here.

For more information, or to speak to the authors, contact Jonny Stone at or call 01582 790704.

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