European Warfighting Resilience and NATO Race of Logistics: Ensuring That Europe Has the Fuel It Needs to Fight the Next War
15 June 2023
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) initial response to Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine signaled a commitment to strengthening deterrence and defense posture. Yet, the conflict highlighted capability gaps, readiness shortfalls and problem points across the alliance, including ever more contested logistics, vulnerable transport infrastructure, and growing energy insecurity. The need to meet these looming and often-overlooked challenges is acute. Left unchecked, they could weaken the alliance’s collective resilience and undercut efforts to provide continuous military support to Ukraine, stopping the military momentum on the ground from shifting decisively in its favor. One fundamental component of warfighting capability underpinning all others is operational energy broadly and fuel specifically, both in peacetime and wartime. Efforts to increase the readiness and enablement of NATO forces should therefore explicitly take into consideration the logistics implications and the compounding effects of rising logistics requirements, including fuel. Enhanced ability to operate in contested environments as well as maintaining forward defense on NATO’s eastern flank will result in higher fuel consumption and, in turn, will require a larger logistics footprint. Thus, increasing operational energy capabilities, including storage and distribution, and reducing risks associated with the lack of or dependence on vulnerable supply lines are critical supporting capabilities for the future fight.