Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment — 23 March 2022

Eric Balough
3 min readApr 5, 2022


More from the Ukraine today:

· The ISW assessrep for 23 March 2022.

o Synopsis of the ISW report: no major changes to the ETO. Russia is digging into a defense. Ukraine is conducting local counterattacks and harassment raids. Putin is having trouble convincing folks to go fight in the meat grinder. Russians are stilling committing war crimes in Mariupol by employing indiscriminate artillery barrages. Ice is slippery.

o A “stunning” NATO report indicated that (and confirmed what we already suspected) over 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, wounded, captured or have deserted since the conflict began a month ago. This is close to ¼ of the original invasion force and about 15% of their entire army. Even more shocking is that the casualty figures appeared briefly on Russian state media websites before being taken down.

· The Ruble to USD exchange rate is currently 98:1. Time for more sanctions.

· NATO convened an emergency summit yesterday to talk about Russia. If it is one thing that NATO loves, it is talking. Despite being a conglomeration of 29-nations that don’t always enjoy one another’s company, and having layers built upon layers of bureaucracy, NATO is capable of moving fairly quickly on issues once they get done talking. Look for another month of outward dormancy followed by a round of dizzying changes within the alliance.

o For those not familiar with NATO’s structure here’s a brief overview (found a nice .pdf that gives greater detail).:

§ The top layer is the North Atlantic Council which is comprised of the Heads of State of the allied government

§ “DEFMINS” or Defence Ministers meet quarterly to issue direction and guidance (D&G) to the International Military Staff.

§ The International Military Staff takes DEFMIN political guidance and translates those tasks to SHAPE and SACT.

§ SHAPE — Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is commanded by SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) who is also dual-hatted as the CG of US European Command (EUCOM)

§ SACT — Supreme Allied Command for Transformation is “TRADOC” of NATO. In other words, they establish NATO doctrine, Standardization Guidelines (STANAGS) and do some strategic/futures work. (During the Cold War, they were SACLANT — Supreme Allied Command Atlantic)

§ Underneath SHAPE and part of the NATO-funded NATO Command Structure (NCS) are two operational Joint Force Commands, domain-specific component commands (LANDCOM, AIRCOM, MARCOM and NSOC), and a few stray cats and dogs.

§ SHAPE also has a command relationship with nine NATO Force Structure (NFS) commands that are structured to command corps-level operations. NFS commands are NATO HQs that are hosted by one nation and then staffed by other member nations. For example, NATO Rapid Deployment Corps — Italy (NRDC IT) is commanded by, based in and mostly staffed by Italy, and then other staff members are assigned from other countries.

§ Prior to the current conflict, NATO implemented a variety of response measures to Russian aggression.

o NATO has spent a great deal of time since the 2016 Warsaw Summit in adapting to the spectre of Russian aggression.

o Obviously too early to tell how useful some of this information may be, but I hope it helps you understand the spaghetti chart that is the NATO command relationship chart if you have future interactions with the alliance.

o Remember, as Russia is finding out, the only thing worse than having to fight a war with allies is having to fight one without them.

That is all for today.

Thank you,

~Eric (Token Army Guy)



Eric Balough

Former infantry officer, and current military analyst. Lover of coffee, dogs, Jeeps, hockey and my family.