With the addition this year of Sweden and last spring of Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Baltic Sea has been dubbed a "NATO lake” by some analysts. A glance at a map show that is largely (but not completely) true — the coastline has a couple of slivers of Russian territory. The rest of the coastal littoral is in NATO hands: Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Denmark.

Russia controls a bit of coast between Lithuania and Poland because of its strange enclave of Kaliningrad. And President Vladimir Putin remains in control of the far eastern corner of the Baltic Sea in the approaches to St. Petersburg — ironically once thought of as the "window to the Western world” by the czars beginning with Peter the Great. Today, in the event of a conflict between Moscow and NATO, any of Russia’s warships there would be quickly and easily bottled up or destroyed.

How should the alliance best take advantage of its new (nearly) lake and what kind of exercises and training should the member-state navies be conducting to assure smooth teamwork?