Showing posts with label Infrastructure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Infrastructure. Show all posts

Unrestricted Warfare Theory And Meaning.


Unrestricted Warfare was published in February 1999  by two Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. 


The book became a best-seller in China, and it was extensively read at the PLA's and Chinese Communist Party's highest levels. 

 The book, on the other hand, was regarded with anxiety in the United States. 

"Unrestricted Warfare" implies that any method can be prepared for use, that information is everywhere, that the battlefield is everywhere, that any technology can be combined with any other technology, and that the lines between war and non-war, as well as between military and non-military affairs, have been systematically blurred.

'You need to read Unrestricted Warfare because it shows China's game plan in its approaching conflict with America,' said Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

  • China believes that by using these measures, it would be able to destroy America.'  
  • Qiao and Wang's book, as originally interpreted by US scholars and military strategists, promoted an immoral and potentially illegal transformation of warfare in which the international system and international law "will be... required to be overthrown in order for the Chinese to achieve their desired policies."  
  • This view, however, is based on a misinterpretation of the book's title rather than the overall philosophy, since the notion of unfettered warfare has subsequently sparked healthy discussion in US military circles.  

Indeed, the book's original title may have been too literally translated; a less incendiary option would be 'warfare beyond borders,' and a more accurate translation for the notion itself, based on the book's core storyline, would be 'warfare that transcends boundaries.' 

'Thus, we acquire a comprehensive notion, a totally new type of combat dubbed "modified combined conflict that goes beyond limitations,"' say Qiao and Wang.  

Because the term 'transcending bounds' does not carry the negative connotations connected with the concept of 'unrestricted' combat, such a translation may have averted the uproar that the book caused when it was initially released. 

  • This is shown by a line in the book's following section: 'Unlimited exceeding of limitations is difficult to attain.' Any breaking of constraints must be done within specified parameters. 
  • That instance, "moving beyond boundaries" does not imply "no limits," but rather the extension of "limited."  
  • Leaving aside the initial unfavorable reaction to the notion of unlimited warfare, it has now achieved a broader acceptance in the US, not least because, as Hoffman puts it, "a deeper reading of the text exposes a number of valuable and even obvious implications."  

The authors of the book make three contributions to the field of strategy: 

  1.  a constructive observation of war; 
  2.  a comprehensive analysis of the transformation of warfare at the end of the twentieth century, with the Gulf War against Iraq in 1999 serving as a symbol of this transformation; and 
  3.  an intellectual conceptualization of future conflicts in the twenty-first century. 

While the majority of Qiao and Wang's work focuses on the nature of war in the late twentieth century and makes some conceptual predictions for the future, they also make several key observations about the nature of war and its principles, such as "regardless of the form the violence takes, war is war, and a change in the external appearance does not keep any war from abiding by the principles of war." 

The most important concept is the significance of combining —'combining two or more battlefield aspects together' —in order to defeat an opponent. 

Using various examples from Chinese and Western military history, Qiao and Wang arrive at the following conclusion: 

'Regardless of whether the war occurred , 3000 years ago or at the end of the twentieth century, it appears that all victories display one common phenomenon: the winner is the one who combined well.'  

In other words, the capacity of strategists to integrate diverse technologies, conceptions of operations, means, and procedures in a manner that delivers major benefits and enhances current combat to a large degree is one of the most crucial components in achieving success in a conflict. 

In creating this concept of combination, Qiao and Wang rightly point out that not every combination is a potential force multiplier, but also that 'it will be pointless to conduct combination  100 times incompetently without grasping the secret of how to conduct combination.' 

The authors recommend two primary guidelines that contribute to the best combination, based on historical examples: 

  1. the golden section rule (0.618:1 ratio) 
  2. and the side-principle rule (taken from linguistics, where one word modifies another and determines its tendency and features). 

The first rule was inspired by the realm of art, while the second was inspired by Chinese language. 

  • By questioning, "Can you still calmly accept them as accidents if too many mishaps reveal the same phenomena?" 
  • Qiao and Wang effectively establish the applicability of these laws to the phenomenon of war. 
  • Qiao and Wang support a concept based on which the combination should be used in battle in the debate that specifies and fuses these two principles. 

  1. First, they contend that each of the five primary components of war, weapons, means, force, direction, and sphere, must have a dominating element defined. 
  2. Second, the 0.618:1 ratio should be used to establish the connections between the dominant weapons and all weapons, the dominant means and all methods, and the dominant force and all forces.

  • Instead of acting strictly according to the rule, Qiao and Wang claim to have discovered a principle that increases the likelihood of winning a war: 'the key [to victory] is to grasp the essence and apply the principle,' rather than acting strictly according to the rule, because 'correct rules do not guarantee that there will always be victories; the secret to victory is to correctly apply rules.'  
  • 'Whoever [will be] able to mix a tasty and unique cocktail for the future banquet of war will eventually be able to wear the laurels of success on his own head,' say Qiao and Wang, claiming that the principle of combination has played a crucial role in achieving victory since the dawn of human conflict. 

Qiao and Wang conclude that 'a conflict that altered the globe eventually changed war itself' after examining the influence of technical advancement and globalization processes on the character of war.  

  • These two innovations are not only at the heart of the end-of-the-century change of combat, but they are also intricately intertwined, each boosting the influence of the other and therefore speeding up the transformation of war. 
  • Building on their notion of combat success as the capacity to put together winning combinations, According to Qiao and Wang, the second half of the twentieth century saw tremendous demand for more intricate combinations than ever before due to technology integration and globalization. 

According to their theory of unrestrained warfare, the technical and geopolitical circumstances of the twentieth century have produced a scenario in which strategists must generate and deploy 'combinations that transcend frontiers.'  

Qiao and Wang highlight two independent but related processes in terms of technology growth and globalization. 

  • On the one hand, they emphasize the growing importance of information technology by claiming that: [It is pointless for military organizations] to wrack their brains over whether or not information technology will grow strong and unruly today, because it is a synthesis of other technologies, and its first appearance and every step forward are all a process of blending with other technologies, so that it is part of them, and they are part of it, and this is precisely what is happening today.  
  • 'Non-professional warriors and non-state organizations are posing a greater and greater threat to sovereign nations, making these warriors and organizations more and more serious adversaries for every professional army,' Qiao and Wang state when discussing the impact of globalization in this age of information technology. 

According to the notion of unrestrained warfare, these two developments expand the importance of 'non-military' means and tactics of conflict, such as terrorism, cybercrime, and financial manipulations.  

These two observations led Qiao and Wang to develop the strategic concept of 'combinations that transcend boundaries,' based on the claim that modern warfare blurs 'technical, scientific, theoretical, psychological, ethical, traditional, customary, and other sorts of boundaries,' erasing 'the boundary between the battlefield and what is not the battlefield, between what is a weapon and what is not, between soldier and non-combatant, between state and non-sovereign, between state and As a result, the authors suggest four new sorts of combinations that, in their opinion, best characterize contemporary combat. 

1. The first is 'supranational combinations,' which bring together national, international, and non-governmental organizations to "assemble and mix together additional tools to fix the issue in a spectrum greater than the problem itself." 

  • As international organizations (multinational, non-state, commercial, religious, criminal, terror, etc.) increasingly affect modern countries, Qiao and Wang argue that modern conflict has transcended the nation-state boundary, and that there is "no better means for countering such threats than the use of supranational combinations."  

2. The second form of combination is known as "supra-domain combinations," which go beyond the battlefield's realms. 

  • As current information technology and globalization compel 'politics, economics, the military, culture, diplomacy, and religion to overlap,' new types of warfare, including as information warfare, financial warfare, trade warfare, and psychological warfare, have emerged in the sphere of conflict. 

Combinations of these domains of warfare are referred to as "supra-domain combinations," which focus efforts on certain dimensions that are most conducive to achieving a conflict's goals.  

'Supra-means combinations,' or a blend of diverse means within each area of warfare that delivers the best beneficial impact on an enemy, are the third sort of combination.  

  • The final and most essential sort of combination is'superior combinations,' which integrate all stages of conflict into a single campaign. 

Qiao and Wang argue that the line between tactics, operations, strategy, and grand-strategy has blurred in today's wars, which are characterized by "supranational powers" that deploy "supra-means" in "supra-domains."

  •  'Bin Laden used a tactical level method of just two truckloads of explosives and threatened U.S. national interests on a strategic level, whilst the Americans can only achieve the strategic goal of protecting their own safety by carrying out tactical level retaliation against him.'  
  • Qiao and Wang utilize a variety of historical instances to illustrate their theories, but the 1991 Gulf War of  is their major point of reference:  
    • 'When we try to utilize previous conflicts to examine what defines war in the era of technological integration and globalization, only "Desert Storm" comes to mind as a ready-made example.'  

The Gulf Conflict, according to Qiao and Wang, "finished one era and began a new one" because it was the first war to fully transcend the bounds of combat. 

  • There were 'supra-national combinations,' as the US was successful in forming a coalition of over thirty countries, including those that were antagonistic to one another, as well as garnering backing from virtually all UN member countries, as well as international and non-governmental organizations (e.g. the World Bank, the World Trade Organization). 
  • There were 'supra-domain combinations,' such as 'the 42 day military operation of Desert Storm was followed by eight years of military pressure + economic embargo + weapons inspections.'  Different means were used in each of the used domains, resulting in 'supra-means combinations' (e.g. the authors discuss the military and psychological domains in detail).  

While the writers do not present any instances of "superior-tier combinations" from the Gulf War, they are plainly identifiable. 

  • The finest example is the employment of reasonably accurate munitions, which, although tactical in nature, had a strategic influence thanks to information technology and live broadcasting of exploding targets, impacting the eyes and ears of the whole globe. 
  • The authors conclude that "although we are witnessing a relative decline in military violence, we are clearly seeing a rise in political, economic, and technical violence" as they examine geopolitical changes in the second half of the twentieth century.  

In other words, on the battlefields of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, unrestrained warfare is an endeavor to argue for the victory of nontraditional realms of violence (i.e. 'non-military' or 'non-war' activities) over strictly military methods to accomplish desired aims. 

Qiao and Wang suggest eight principles at the conclusion of their book that currently characterize modern warfare and will have a greater impact on the nature of future battles. 

  • The first is a concept known as 'omnidirectionality.' Future wars will be marked by a lack of distinction between what is and is not the battlefield, and will encompass not only traditional military domains (i.e. land, sea, air, etc. ), but also social domains such as politics, economics, culture, and the psyche of the nations involved, according to this principle (as well as neutral nations). 
    • Participants in these wars will be required to: Consider all aspects of 'this particular' war when observing the battlefield or a potential battlefield, designing plans, employing measures, and combining the use of all available war resources, to have a field of vision with no blind spots, a concept free of obstacles, and an orientation free of blind angles when observing the battlefield or a potential battlefield, to have a field of vision with no blind spots, a concept free of obstacles, and an orientation free of blind angles when  

  • The second premise is 'synchrony,' which means that future battles will need operations to be carried out in several domains at the same time. 
  • According to Qiao and Wang, technology integration and globalization will allow for not only more synchronized and simultaneous execution of diverse activities using different methods in different domains, but also more synchronized and simultaneous execution of these combinations. 
  • If goals had to be achieved in stages in the past "through an accumulation of battles and campaigns," they could be accomplished in the future "under conditions of simultaneous occurrence, simultaneous action, and simultaneous completion."  
  • According to Qiao and Wang, the third and fourth criteria that will characterize future conflicts are "limited aims" and "unlimited methods." 
  • The former emphasizes the significance of establishing precise and feasible aims for future battles, as "defining objectives that transcend the permissible bounds of the existing methods would only result in tragic outcomes." 
  • The infinite measures concept is founded on the premise that "to achieve certain specified aims, one may break through limits and choose among alternative ways."  
  • While none of these concepts adds anything new to the nature of warfare, their combination creates the central concept of unconstrained warfare: limited goals attained by infinite means. 

  • The sixth notion is 'asymmetry,' which entails exploiting an opponent's weak points. 
    • Although this principle adds little to the nature of war, Qiao and Wang believe that the shift of warfare from the traditional military domain to non-military domains (i.e. politics, economy, and culture) will increase the role of this principle, giving weaker actors more opportunities and exposing the vulnerabilities of stronger actors.  
    • The sixth concept is 'minimal consumption,' which is based on 'rational categorization of goals and rational resource usage.' 

In future conflicts, Qiao and Wang argue that the expanding number of conceivable goals and the many ways to achieve them would inevitably raise the risk of 'high consumption with poor performance,' and that it will be necessary (more than ever before): 

'To combine the superiorities of various types of battle resources in various types of places to build a totally new kind of combat that achieves the goal while minimizing consumption.'  

  • The seventh principle is 'multidimensional coordination,' which entails the coordination and collaboration of all necessary means and actions in all necessary domains in order to achieve the war's goal. 

    • Because unrestricted warfare assumes that any domain, not just the military, can be a battlefield, future war participants should be "inclined to understand multidimensional coordination as the coordination of the military dimension with various other dimensions in the pursuit of a specific objective."  
    • According to Qiao and Wang, the ultimate premise of future battles is "correction and control of the whole process." 
    • 'The ability of these factors to cloud the issues of war, and their intense influence on war, means that loss of control over any one link may be like the proverbial loss of a horseshoe nail that led to the loss of a whole war.'  

  • Finally, it is critical to concentrate on three key components of this theory. 

    • The first and most significant is the notion that human conflict extends beyond the conventional military domain, entering other areas of human interaction (such as politics, economics, and culture) at the subnational, national, and supranational levels. 
    • As a result, Qiao and Wang believe that "he who wishes to win today's war, or tomorrow's war, must "combine" all of the war resources [military and non-military] at his disposal and employ them as means of prosecuting war."  

The writers acknowledge that their concept of 'combination' isn't particularly novel, claiming that "Alexander the Great and the martial monarchs of the Zhou Dynasty never heard of cocktails [i.e. combinations], but they grasped the importance of the combined use of things."  

However, the key point is that in present and future battles, this ancient strategy of combining actions, means, and tactics that were not previously considered aspects of combat will be utilized. 

This leads straight to the third fundamental point advanced by unrestrained warfare: 

the technical and societal developments at the end of the twentieth century were the two primary forces behind the emergence of this "Warfare that Transcends Boundaries" (i.e. globalization). 

In response to these changes, the new principle of war is "using all means, including armed force or non-military force, military and non-military, and lethal and non-lethal means to compel the enemy to accept one's interests," rather than "using armed force to compel the enemy to submit to one's will."

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

Sources, References & Further Reading:

  • Hoffman, Frank, Conflict in the 21st Century: The Rise of Hybrid Warfare, Arlington: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, 2007, p. 14.
  • For example: Nemeth, William, ‘Future War and Chechnya: A Case for Hybrid Warfare’, PhD diss., Monterey, Naval Postgraduate School, 2002; Morelock, Jerry, ‘Washington as Strategist: Compound Warfare in the American Revolution, 1775–1783’, in Huber, Thomas (ed.), Compound Warfare: That Fatal Knot, Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, 2002, p. 78.
  • Qiao, Liang and Xiangsui Wang, Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America, Panama City: Pan American Publishing Company, 2002.
  • Scobell, Andrew, ‘Introduction to Review Essays on “Unrestricted Warfare”’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 112–13; Cheng, Dean, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 122–9.
  • Thomas Moorer cited on the back cover of Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare.
  • Bunker, Robert, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 11, 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 114.
  • Luman, Ronald (ed.), Unrestricted Warfare Symposium 2006: Proceedings on Strategy, Analysis, and Technology, Laurel, MD: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 2006; Luman, (ed.), Unrestricted Warfare Symposium 2008: Proceedings on Combating the Unrestricted Warfare Threat; Integrating Strategy, Analysis, and Technology, Laurel, MD: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 2008.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. 155.
  • Hoffman, Conflict in the 21st Century, p. 22.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. xxi.
  • Bunker, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: Review Essay II’; Van Messel, John, ‘Unrestricted Warfare: A Chinese Doctrine for Future Warfare?’, Master’s thesis, Marine Corps University, Quantico, 2005.
  • Qiao and Wang, Unrestricted Warfare, p. 48.
  • Lind, William, et al., ‘The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation’, Marine Corps Gazette (October 1989), pp. 22–6.
  • Van Creveld, Martin, On Future War, London: Brasseys, 1991.
  • Huntington, Samuel, The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order, London: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • For example: Terriff, Terry, Aaron Karp and Regina Karp, (eds), Global Insurgency and the Future of Armed Conflict, New York: Routledge Press, 2007; Hammes, Thomas, The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century, St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2004; Benbow, Tim, ‘Talking ’Bout Our Generation? Assessing the Concept of “Fourth Generation Warfare”’, Comparative Strategy, 27, 2 (2008), pp. 148–63.
  • Echevarria, Antulio, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2005.
  • Lind, William, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, Military Review (September–October 2004), p. 12.
  • Echevarria, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, p. v.
  • Hammes, Sling and the Stone, p. 16.
  • Rogers, Clifford (ed.), The Military Revolution Debate: Readings on the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe, Oxford: Westview Press, 1995; Parker, Geoffrey, The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988; Boot, Max, War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History, 1500 to Today, New York: Gotham Books, 2006; Murray, Williamson and Macgregor Knox (eds), The Dynamics of Military Revolution 1300–2050, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Hammes, Sling and the Stone, pp. 17, 18.
  • For example: Rogers, Military Revolution Debate; Parker, Military Revolution.
  • Lind, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, p. 12.
  • Lind et al., ‘Changing Face of War’, p. 23; also see Hammes, Sling and the Stone, pp. 22–31.
  • Lind, ‘Understanding Fourth Generation War’, p. 13.
  • Hammes, Thomas, ‘War Evolves into the Fourth Generation’, Contemporary Security Policy, 26, 2 (2005), p. 197.
  • Hammes, ‘War Evolves into the Fourth Generation’, p. 206.
  • Echevarria, Fourth Generation War and Other Myths, p. 16.
  • Huber, Thomas, ‘Napoleon in Spain and Naples: Fortified Compound Warfare’, in C610: The Evolution of Modern Warfare, Term I Syllabus/Book of Readings, Fort Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, 1997.
  • Huber, Thomas, ‘Compound Warfare: A Conceptual Framework’, in Huber, Compound Warfare, p. 1.
  • Roberts, Michael, ‘The Military Revolution, 1560–1660’, in Rogers, Military Revolution Debate.
  • See Morelock, Jerry, ‘Washington as Strategist: Compound Warfare in the American Revolution’ in Huber, Compound Warfare; Baumann, Robert, ‘Compound War Case Study: The Soviets in Afghanistan’, in Huber, Compound Warfare.
  • Hoffman, Conflict in the 21st Century, pp. 25–6.
  • Rumsfeld, Donald, ‘The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America’, Washington, DC, March 2005, p. v.

Future Warfare - The Rise Of Hybrid Warfare And Hybrid Wars.


The notion of hybrid warfare is most typically linked with US military strategist Frank Hoffman in Western literature. 

Hoffman began working on bridging the gap between the linear description of (regular or irregular) combat in the context of the twenty-first-century operational environment in the mid-2000s. 

'The blurring of modalities of combat, the blurring of who fights, and what technology are brought to bear, provides a vast spectrum of variation and complexity that we term Hybrid Warfare,' Hoffman said, drawing on the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. 

1. Hybrid warfare, according to Hoffman, may be carried out by both states and non-state actors and entails "a variety of distinct modalities of warfare, including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorism, including indiscriminate violence and coercion, and criminal disorder." 

2. Hoffman was not the first to detect these changes; as he has noted, prior hypotheses and observations strongly informed his own. 

Indeed, a deeper look at the literature preceding Hoffman's notion of hybrid warfare reveals that the word 'hybrid' had previously been used to characterize the hazy border between regular and irregular troops and capabilities. 

3. Nonetheless, Hoffman's work is notable because it sparked a discussion in the West about modern hybrid threats, with the notion of hybrid warfare being seen as a new way to think about twenty-first-century wars. 

The following sections examine hybrid warfare as it was first thought of and understood in the West. 

  1. Unrestricted Warfare Theory And Meaning.
  2. Fourth-Generation Warfare Theory And Meaning.
  3. The Concept Of Compound Warfare.

Because the notion is a product of US military philosophy, it's vital to look at the environment in which it was created, as well as how it's been used by US academics and military personnel. 

As a result, this paper provides four major influences on the notion of hybrid warfare: unconstrained warfare, fourth generation warfare (4GW), compound warfare, and the objectives articulated in the 2005 US National Defense Strategy. 

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

Sources, References & Further Reading:

1. Lasconjarias, Guillaume and Jeffrey Larsen (eds), NATO’s Response to Hybrid Threats, Rome: NATO Defence College, 2015.

2. Tsygankov, Pavel (ed.), ‘Gibridnyye Voyny’ v khaotiziruyushchemsya mire XXI veka [‘Hybrid wars’ in the chaotic world of the twenty-first century], Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2015.

3. ‘Inside the KGB: An Interview with Retired KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin’, CNN, 

4. For example: Andrew, Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West, London: Penguin Books, 2000; Lunev, Stanislav, Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 1998; Earley, Pete, Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, London: Penguin Books, 2007.

5. Von Clausewitz, Carl, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 13.

Hybrid Warfare - Understanding Influence Operation Threats, Information Warfare And Cyberwarfare.

    The Threat of Influence Operations:  

    The recent hacking of governmental websites, which has been largely blamed on Russia, has strengthened the generally held belief that Hybrid Warfare is synonymous with hostile cyber actions. 

    • This ignores the far-reaching and deadly consequences of enemy influence operations in the economic and defense sectors. 
    • These activities are more devious and harmful from a strategic standpoint. 
    • Influence operations, unlike cyber operations, may last for a long time. 

    While the EU is generally well-equipped to cope with hostile cyber operations, knowledge of and countermeasures against influence operations are unexpectedly lacking, both at the national and EU levels. 

    Cyber operations are an important instrument in the spectrum of warfighting. 

    They are a set of capabilities that are constantly assembled and deployed in varied configurations as policy goals change. 

    However, cyber is only one instrument. A wide range of instruments are available in the toolbox. 

    • When a specific tool combination is deployed, it may alter over time as the targeted aims are continually reassessed to ensure that assaults stay below the threshold of war, to the degree practicable. 
    • When such judgments are made, there is a danger of miscalculation, which might lead to armed conflict if the threshold is reached. 
    • Deliver maximum impact for militarily weaker states in order to compensate for this deficit by fundamentally weakening the speed, efficiency, and confidence with which political choices are made. 
    • That involves political choices to activate a military response and deploy in response to hostile conduct by an enemy state, which need popular backing. 

    Another goal of such influence efforts is to erode political support for defense expenditures. 

    • Russia and China both have lesser military capabilities than NATO, and as a result, they have created a sophisticated Hybrid Toolbox with which the EU must deal effectively and quickly to safeguard its interests. 
    • Because they are concrete, quantifiable, and fathomable, with immediate and sometimes apparent impacts, and in some circumstances with physical repercussions, cyber operations draw attention and catch the imagination of the public and state institutions. 

    Hybrid warfare has existed since the birth of combat, but protagonists have lacked the tremendous force multiplier provided by cyber capabilities, which amplifies the effect of Hybrid operations. 

    • This may be seen in the rapidity with which misinformation is spread, which weakens socio-political cohesiveness. 
    • It may also result in the loss of control over critical operations and data (e.g. infrastructure, banking, health, etc.). 

    Cyber is a comparatively easy realm to protect for political masters and corporations in democracies, since it is a well to which funds, experience, and techniques can be allocated. 

    They may also show their constituents that this is considerably more difficult for politicians, the media, and state institutions to comprehend and respond to. 

    A Combination Of Defense And Influence Activities

    As a result, Hybrid Warfare encompasses a far larger variety of Influence activities. 

    • These are designed to erode faith in activities. 
    • The democratic system's cornerstone is trust, which allows it to make choices via its procedures and institutions. 
    • As a result, such assaults may have strategic ramifications by weakening faith in the system and fostering division in society along the many fault lines of language, race, religion, economic position, and so on. 

    One of the main goals of Attacker states is to create new perceptions that may compete with existing facts. 

    This tactic employs a grain of truth as an anchor for a misinformation campaign in order to provide a completely false tale a veneer of legitimacy that can be transmitted quickly and widely via cyberspace. 

    This is especially true in terms of defense: 

    • As previously stated, one of the main goals is to erode public support for military actions and deployments. 
    • For example, they've been used to falsely accuse troops of human rights violations in our armed vexatious cases. 

    Deepfakes may also be used to portray NATO personnel on deployment in a misleading light. 

    The result is two direct effects that are critical to the Attackers strategic objectives at a time when,


    (1) Delay political decision-making on military response and deployment as public confidence in the armed forces erodes and politicians dither, giving the attackers time and space to consolidate (also politically) their gains on the ground. 

    (2) Delay military acquisition and any modernization efforts as politicians respond to public opinion that has already been corrupted. 

    A Combination Of Financial Warfare, Economic Targeting, And Influence Operations

    Another significant sector that affects defense and security is economic and business activity, as well as technological innovation. 

    • Patent (IP) management for dual-use technology should be a major defense issue. 
    • Whoever understands the secrets of new game-changing technology first will have strategic advantages that are game-changing (e.g. Quantum Computing and Artificial Intelligence). 

    This isn't only about the future, however. 

    Obtaining majority shareholdings in EU businesses creating and managing cutting-edge dual-use satellite technology that may give the finest assistance available to hypersonic missiles is now a critical actual and conceivable danger to the economic, military, technical, and corporate combination. 

    Such hybrid influence activities should be a top focus for the European Union. 

    Influence operations may not even be primarily targeted at defense companies per se, making them much less visible as hostile actions. 

    Political, military, security, intelligence, and corporate leaders must up their game by confronting the uncomfortable fact that influence operations may not even be primarily targeted at defense companies per se, making them much less visible as hostile actions. 

    • Instead, they go after private sector firms that have nothing to do with the military in principle, such as sophisticated manufacturing, software development and service firms, digital platforms, and, most importantly, the space industry. 

    In terms of opposing Influence Operations, the commercial space sector should become a crucial area that requires special attention. 

    In terms of the space industry's hardware, the cost of launching spacecraft into space is decreasing, allowing nations to use commercial space operations for military purposes. 

    Technologies that are of special interest to enemies, such as the development and deployment of hypersonic vehicles to transport military assets and deploy them swiftly, are a crucial area of military usage. 

    The commercialization of data in space, in particular. 

    Similar to the start of the nuclear weapons era in the mid-1940s, data and its management is the major new geopolitical and military battlefield. 

    In terms of pure military operations, the digital backbone of the armed forces, which stretches from satellites to platoon commanders, guiding missiles and supporting both decision-making and operations, may well start to determine the military balance among the world's great powers in the four domains of land, sea, air, and information. 

    As these private-sector-led technologies increase military capabilities, the race is on to see who can acquire a specific IP first. 

    Despite seeming to be unrelated to the military, this is the primary area in which foreign influence operations must be fought. 

    This is especially true given our military's reliance on the private sector for research, development, and procurement. 

    China and Russia, on the other hand, depend on private-public partnerships and collaboration, with national goals (such as AI, 5G, and Quantum Computing) driving research and development. 

    As a result, protecting our vital intellectual property in the private sector must become a top concern. 

    Our private-sector enterprises are the legal owners of these strategic patents. 

    The issue of who controls these corporations' shareholdings, boards, and management must become a major national security priority. 

    This is because business owners and managers have complete control over who receives their new technology discoveries, whether they are friends or adversaries. 

    For the media, the public, the political establishment, and state institutions, hybrid operations against such corporations (to obtain their IPs) are hardly the stuff of spectacular tales. 

    Furthermore, they are not necessarily takeover activities headed by EU-based and licensed firms with monies already in the EU's banking system, but whose ultimate beneficiaries may be Russian or Chinese, or anybody else. 

    Until 2018, certain Baltic nations were mostly Russian-speaking. These monies are likely still moving in the EU, where they may be readily exploited to purchase enterprises that are strategically helpful to rivals. 

    In other instances, opportunistic or purposeful exploitation and manipulation of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns in publicly traded corporations may be used to compel a change in ownership, board of directors, and management. 

    Areas For Leveraging DeepFakes

    DeepFakes may also be used in such influence operations to fraudulently portray politicians, business leaders, or auditors making remarks that indicate a significantly worse financial status of their company or the standards to which they comply, for example. 

    The speed with which social media may disseminate these DeepFakes before the truth is re-established (if at all), might result in a stock market crash, a bank run (if it is falsely believed to be bankrupt), and eventually civil upheaval. 

    It may cause the implementation of vital technologies and infrastructure that impact economic development and growth, such as 5G, nuclear energy and waste treatment, and vaccinations, to be delayed. 

    Such sponsored enterprises may pose a direct security and defense danger to their proxy non-state actors. 

    Belgium is especially vulnerable: it ranked ninth in the world in terms of patents per million people in 2018, just ahead of Japan. Many EEA countries were also in the top seven. 

    Many businesses have had substantial cash flow challenges as a result of COVID, which provides chances for hostile influence operations to purchase stakes in small and medium-sized technological firms. 

    In Hybrid warfare Influence Operations, defense, security, technology, and the economy are all intertwined, and quick response is critical. 

    Not just in the Cyber realm, but also in the economic sphere, we must quickly establish resilience and the high-quality reaction necessary to cope with influence-induced crises. 

    • Building resilience and crisis management capacities requires a public-private cooperation. 
    • The creation of a trustworthy network within which information may be transmitted in a safe environment is a cornerstone of this collaboration. 
    • The institutional foundation for such an attempt may be an Economic Security and Intelligence capacity that operates this collaboration and assembles a collection of disparate data and information into a cohesive picture of the danger presented by Influence Operations. 
    • To make state institutions take economic influence operations seriously in the same way they take other (more visible) threats seriously, a bureaucratic and business culture shift is required.
    • Meanwhile, business must acknowledge and comprehend that not all market activity is benign, and to trust the state with what they are facing. 

    Citizens, businesses, and the government all have a similar interest in preserving our economy, security, and way of life, thus the moment for such a transition in culture and institutional frameworks is ideal. 

    Influence Operations, much more than cyber per se, pose a serious and direct danger to all three. 

    Our society will suffer catastrophic repercussions if business as usual continues. 

    The only way to defeat hostile Influence Operations is to establish and implement a new mode of operation that depends on cooperation between state institutions and the private sector on the one hand, and between the state and the private sector on the other. 

    The ministries of the economy, finance, and infrastructure must all have a role in national security. 

    • Beyond cyber-attacks, the longer-term concern in Ukraine is precisely this subtle blend of strategic influence operations. 
    • Similar dangers to the EU's economic, technological, and military combination must be assumed, and the EU must respond quickly and aggressively.

    ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

    You may also want to read and learn more about Global Geo Politics, Conflicts, And Conflict Resolution here.

    Sources & References:

    • Eberle, J. and Daniel, J., 2022. Anxiety geopolitics: Hybrid warfare, civilisational geopolitics, and the Janus-faced politics of anxiety. Political Geography92, p.102502.
    • Muradov, I., 2022. The Russian hybrid warfare: the cases of Ukraine and Georgia. Defence Studies, pp.1-24.
    • Magnuson, S., Keay, M. and Metcalf, K., 2022. Countering Hybrid Warfare: Mapping Social Contracts to Reinforce Societal Resiliency in Estonia and Beyond (Spring 2022). Texas National Security Review.
    • Панфілов, О. and Савченко, О., 2022. THE SOCIOLOGICAL ASPECT IN THE CONTENT OF THE MODERN HYBRID WARFARE. " Вісник НЮУ імені Ярослава Мудрого". Серія: Філософія, філософія права, політологія, соціологія1(52).
    • Solmaz, T., 2022. ‘Hybrid warfare’: A dramatic example of conceptual stretching. National security and the future23(1), pp.89-102.
    • Bhattacharya, I., 2022. Hybrid Warfare Teasing Security Concerns in Asia. In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems (pp. 1-15). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
    • Gaiser, L., 2022. Chinese hybrid warfare approach and the logic of strategy. National security and the future23(1), pp.67-77.
    • Andersson, M., 2022. Russia's use of Hybrid Warfare against the European Union 2014-2020: A qualitative content analysis.
    • Kennedy, D., 2022. The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World by Linda Colley. Journal of Interdisciplinary History52(3), pp.430-431.
    • Arild, S., NATIONAL RESILIENCE AS A TOOL TO COUNTER HYBRID THREATS Sunde Arild. У збірнику представлено матеріали ІІ Міжнародної науково-практичної конференції «Управління та адміністрування в умовах протидії гібридним загрозам національній безпеці». Матеріали подано у авторській редакції. Редакційна колегія може не поділяти думок авторів. За достовірність даних та унікальність поданого до друку матеріалу, p.217.
    • Coldea, F., 2022. Intelligence challenges in countering hybrid threats. National security and the future23(1), pp.49-66.
    • Davies, L., 2022. A “hybrid offensive” in the Balkans? Russia and the EU-led Kosovo-Serb negotiations. European Security31(1), pp.1-20.
    • Hook, K. and Marcantonio, R., 2022. Environmental dimensions of conflict and paralyzed responses: the ongoing case of Ukraine and future implications for urban warfare. Small Wars & Insurgencies, pp.1-29.
    • Kurban, O. and Stadnichenko, O., 2022. Hybrid Conflicts in Modern Geopolitics: Based on Russian-Ukrainian Relations From 1991-2021. In Handbook of Research on Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Conflicts and Their Impact on State and Social Security (pp. 70-89). IGI Global.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is Hybrid Warfare?
      • To put it another way, hybrid warfare is defined as the interaction or fusion of traditional and unconventional weapons of power and subversion. These instruments or methods are synergistically used to exploit an antagonist's weaknesses and create synergistic effects. Hybrid warfare is a military tactic initially advocated by Frank Hoffman that combines political warfare with conventional, irregular, and cyberwarfare, as well as other influencing measures including false news, diplomacy, lawfare, and foreign electoral interference. 
    2. What is an example of the term "hybrid warfare"? 
      • The 2006 confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah is one of the most often cited instances of a hybrid war. Hezbollah is a well-organized non-state force backed by Iran.  While it often works as a mouthpiece for Iran, the organization has its own goal. 
    3. What does NATO mean when it says "hybrid warfare"? 
      • Disinformation, cyber assaults, economic pressure, and the deployment of irregular armed groups, as well as the employment of regular troops, are all examples of hybrid threats. 
    4. What is a GREY war? 
      • Grey zone actions, in general, include pursuing political goals via carefully planned operations; moving gently toward goals rather than achieving definitive outcomes fast; working to stay below critical escalatory thresholds in order to avert conflict; and using all instruments of state power. 
    5. Why is hybrid warfare a national security threat? 
      •  Hybrid warfare employs all aspects of state power to force its will on another state, focusing on the weakest development areas and attaining outcomes. Indeed, this kind of warfare assumes that society becomes the first line of defense. 
    6. What are the dangers that exist in the grey zone? 
      • The end outcome Hybrid threats, sharp power, political warfare, malevolent influence, irregular warfare, and contemporary deterrence are all terms used to describe the gray zone phenomena. The International Security Program at CSIS has looked at these dangers and how the US might effectively discourage, campaign in, and react to gray zone tactics. 
    7. What is cyberwarfare's primary goal? 
      • The purpose of cyberwarfare, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is to "weaken, disrupt, or destroy" another country. Cyberwarfare programs aim for a broad range of objectives that might hurt national interests in order to accomplish their aims. 
    8. When did hybrid warfare first appear on the scene? 
      • First, in 2005, two US military officers wrote on the "development of hybrid wars," emphasizing the use of both conventional and unconventional strategies, techniques, and tactics in modern combat, as well as psychological and information-related elements of current battles. 
    9. What is non-kinetic warfare, and how does it differ from kinetic warfare? 
      • Non-kinetic Warfare (NKW) is a complete operational concept that is employed in the interlaced, overlapping, and integrated Electromagnetic Spectrum, Information Space, and Cyber Space to allow non-kinetic environment supremacy, according to our definition. 
    10. Is there a distinction between conventional and unconventional warfare? 
      • Unconventional warfare is an effort to win victory indirectly via a proxy army, while conventional warfare is employed to directly diminish the opponent's military capabilities through assaults and maneuvers. 
    11. What is subthreshold warfare, and how does it work? 
      • Sub-threshold warfare, a sort of warfare in which open armed combat is avoided but confrontation is definitely occurring, is arguably a new character on the stage. The Salisbury assaults, Chinese activity along the 9 Dash Line, and western involvement in Iraq and Syria are all examples of this. 
    12. What is the definition of a proxy army? 
      • Non-state proxy armed forces are often defined as irregular military organizations that engage on behalf of a foreign authority in an internal armed conflict, either entirely or partly. Militias, rebels, and "terrorists" are among them. 
    13. What does fifth-generation warfare imply? 
      • Fifth-generation warfare (5GW) is characterized by non-kinetic military actions such as social engineering, deception, and cyberattacks, as well as emerging technology like as artificial intelligence and completely autonomous systems. 
    14. Who came up with the phrase "hybrid warfare"? 
      • Hybrid warfare is a military tactic initially advocated by Frank Hoffman that combines political warfare with conventional, irregular, and cyberwarfare, as well as other influencing measures including false news, diplomacy, lawfare, and foreign electoral interference. 
    15. How can you put a halt to a hybrid war? 
      • Training, drills, and education are all important parts in preparing to deal with hybrid threats. This entails putting decision–making procedures to the test as well as coordinating joint military and non-military responses with other stakeholders.