Germany Prepares for Potential NATO Attack Scenario

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.29 - 2024 8:02 AM CET

Photo: Mo Photography Berlin /
Photo: Mo Photography Berlin /
Germany's Bundestag has crafted a hypothetical scenario detailing a potential attack on NATO territories, drawing lessons from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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Germany has created a detailed scenario imagining a possible attack on NATO, influenced by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

This report, made by the Bundestag for the German government, discusses how modern wars might look, combining traditional military action with cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and other non-traditional methods.

Understanding the Threat

The scenario suggests that an unnamed enemy could launch a hybrid attack against NATO countries. This includes using the full range of military power across land, sea, air, and cyber space.

The scenario is based on Russia's current tactics in Ukraine, showing that future conflicts could be complex and multifaceted.

The Four Phases of Conflict

The report breaks down the conflict into four stages:

  • The Initial Stage: Spanning several years with varying degrees of intensity, this phase involves the aggressor's hybrid influence: covert espionage, cyberattacks, sabotage, and targeting of critical infrastructure. These covert operations are difficult to directly link to the aggressor.

  • Preparation for Conflict: Over several months, the aggressor deploys troops along NATO's eastern borders, eliciting a response from NATO. Meanwhile, the covert hybrid attacks become increasingly overt.

  • Open Warfare: Potentially lasting more than a year, this phase sees direct military strikes on NATO territories, including Germany, employing both conventional and unconventional methods. Attacks may also target satellites, disrupting space operations.

  • Breakthrough and Ceasefire: The aggressor eventually penetrates NATO's defenses, escalating to a full-scale conflict that spans into space. The scenario anticipates the conflict concluding with a ceasefire agreement, achievable no sooner than a few months into this phase.

Planning for Civil Protection

The Bundeswehr has been working on a new, detailed operational defense strategy, the first of its kind since the Cold War ended. This plan, influenced by the extensive lessons learned from Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine, is highly confidential, spans hundreds of pages, and is anticipated to be finalized by the end of March.

Lately, several European NATO members have voiced concerns about the potential threat of Russian aggression. For instance, in January, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius advised that the Alliance should brace for a possible Russian assault on a NATO country within the next 5 to 8 years.

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