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Friday, 06 February 2015 00:00

Hybrid Conflicts as Emerging Security Challenge: Policy Considerations for International Security

Hybrid conflicts are complex phenomena that do not readily fit into today’s security policy frameworks. Further aggravating matters is (1) the absence of an accepted legal definition and (2) the use of conventional and nonconventional tools by combatants to achieve their ends often coupled with a blatant disregard for international law. Such practices impede the ability of policymakers to pre-empt and resolve hybrid conflicts within traditional policy frameworks.

Despite difficulties, policymakers can recognize certain characteristics of hybrid conflict, such as the coordinated use of conventional and non-conventional means in conjunction with the use of media and other force-multiplier technologies to reduce the power of state response. When facing hybrid conflicts policymakers would be well served to (1) consider means to enhance human and cultural intelligence, (2) improve early warning and enhance understanding of technological developments and the increased role of social media, and (3) adopt a more comprehensive approach to better enable institutions to respond to hybrid warfare.