Why Biden’s “Tiger Team” Is Wise to Prepare for Russian Attacks on NATO Soil: The White House has reportedly assembled a team of national security experts to wargame several scenarios in which Russia deploys tactical nuclear weapons and to map out the best possible courses of action the United States should take in the event the war in Ukraine escalates into a global conflict.
The so-called “Tiger Team” was quietly assembled by the Biden administration and also tasked with determining the right strategy for the U.S. military if Russian President Vladimir Putin attacks convoys in NATO countries delivering weapons and supplies to Ukraine.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan established the team on February 28, four days after the Russians invaded Ukraine, according to anonymous officials who spoke to the New York Times. The same sources claimed that a similar team had been wargaming potential conflict with Russia for several months before the invasion began.
Contingency measures drawn up by the Tiger Team are believed to central to the discussions the president will have with NATO, G7, and EU leaders during summits this week in Brussels, Belgium.
Attacks On NATO Soil Could Be Around the Corner
While Vladimir Putin is unlikely to resort to the use of tactical nuclear weapons without extreme provocation or escalation, the possibility of such an escalation is very much possible.
Earlier this month, Russia warned the United States and NATO forces against continued deliveries of ammunition and weapons to Ukraine. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that U.S. convoys would be considered by the Russian military as “legitimate targets,” indicating willingness from the Kremlin to order attacks on NATO soil.
“We warned the United States that pumping Ukraine with weapons from a number of countries orchestrated by them is not just a dangerous move, but these are actions that turn the corresponding convoys into legitimate targets,” Ryabkov told Channel One, a Russian state-owned news channel, in March.
Warnings from Russia were largely ignored by NATO forces, with U.S. President Joe Biden signing off on a $1.5 trillion spending bill that contained $13.6 billion in additional aid to Ukraine just days later.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also already described Western sanctions on his country as an “economic war,” giving the Russian leader the pretext he may need to further defend any military action on NATO soil.
“The situation demands a rather deep analysis – those decisions announced by President Biden. If you are asking me what Russia is going to do – Russia is going to do what is necessary to defend its interests,” Peskov told reporters. “The United States definitely has declared economic war against Russia and is waging this war.”
With Ukraine entirely dependent on Western ammunition and aid at this stage, and the Russian military having failed to gain support from China, the destruction of Western convoys may be a logical next step for the Russians. Such a move, however, could potentially initiate World War III. Any attack on a NATO country constitutes an attack on all other NATO forces – and it will be up to President Joe Biden and leaders of other NATO superpowers to decide whether Russian strikes on NATO soil should be met with reciprocal military action.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.