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The Strategic Vulnerability of NATO Blood Supply Logistics: a Case Study of Estonian National Defence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-388
Number of pages20
JournalDefense and Security Analysis
Issue number4
Early online date31 May 2022
Accepted/In press18 Nov 2021
E-pub ahead of print31 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


King's Authors


If an event triggers Article V and NATO is drawn into defensive combat operations, there could well be more dead and wounded than the West has encountered before. Most casualties will result from combat trauma and require both surgery and blood transfusion to survive. Under NATO’s split “collective-individual” responsibility system, should national blood logistic systems be unable to deliver; and with NATO unable to exercise overall coordination, serious consequences for individual morale, the will to fight, and overall combat capability will occur, producing dire strategic outcomes. This article focusses on NATO blood supply logistics and highlights current deficiencies, using Estonian Defence Force blood supply logistics as its working example. The article’s principal argument is that blood supply logistics has “tactical-level” effects which have critical flow-on strategic effects on issues such as force preservation and morale. Blood supply logistics is a complex issue urgently requiring concerted NATO, multinational, and national attention.

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