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Thread: What is Hybrid Warfare?

  1. #1

    Default What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Though popularized recently with Russian military intervention into the Ukraine, there is plenty of debate in both academia and defense circles as to what exactly is hybrid warfare. Proponents of a new kind of warfare point to the so called “gray zone” between peace and war; and that hybrid warfare is a modern mixture of revolution, insurgency, and terrorism, followed by disinformation, peacekeeping, political warfare, and state-intervention. Others -led by historians- say that hybrid warfare is nothing new, and many countries in the past have used insurgent groups -to include undercover operatives and integrated campaigns- to undermine governments and fight proxy wars.

    Two of the most common definitions I have found from western pundits are:

    1. any form of aggression short of open invasion (i.e. subversion and political warfare)
    2. a combination of multiple conventional and unconventional tools of warfare that exploit the vulnerabilities of an opponent.

    Also of note, and of somewhat different character to the definitions I posted, is the so-called Gerasimov Doctrine, which more or less represents a Russian view to future operating environments: https://jmc.msu.edu/50th/download/21-conflict.pdf

    According to Gerasimov, the “rules of war” have changed. The role of nonmilitary means in achieving strategic goals has grown, and has, in many cases, surpassed the use of conventional force in effectiveness.

    To quote:
    In the twenty-first century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template…

    … broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures—applied in coordination with the protest potential of the population. All this is supplemented by military means of a concealed character, including carrying out actions of informational conflict and the actions of special operations forces.

    Gerasimov: The Value of Science Is in the Foresight / Military-Industrial Kurier, 27 February 2013.
    Gerasimov Diagram of Conflict Development:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    The most important observation Gerasimov makes is the use of nonmilitary force in future conflict. War -according to the Russian view- is now conducted in a 4:1 ratio in favor of nonmilitary measures. Whereas western nations might consider diplomacy, peacekeeping, and sanctions as means to avoid war, the Russian mindset considers these actions as a natural extension of war itself.

    The so-called gray zone, along with many non-conventional and illegitimate means of waging war, is now rejected in favor of war.


    Components of Hybrid Warfare


    Below are my comments on some of the best-known components of Hybrid Warfare.


    Unconventional Forces with Conventional Capabilities.


    This is usually one of the first points that get brought up when discussing hybrid warfare, the new phenomenon of irregular forces that equal the strength of conventional armies. However, paramilitary forces, like mercenaries and insurgents, that can go toe to toe with state militaries is nothing new, and one can look as far back as the late 19th and early 20th centuries to see evidence of that. What is new is that unconventional forces are becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, and have in many ways, surpassed the capabilities of modern armies. Perhaps the best known example of a skillful and adaptive irregular force was Hezbollah in the 2006 Lebanon War. During the conflict, Hezbollah was able to fight the IDF to a standstill while utilizing advance anti-tank guns and Katyusha rockets. Most unprecedented of course, was the attack on INS Hanit, which was achieved with an anti-ship missile. In the Ukraine conflict, pro-Russian rebels were able to shoot down a civilian airliner with a surface to air missile, and have always outgunned local police and some Ukrainian army units with their own tanks and armored vehicles. Finally, ISIS was able to defeat the Iraq Army and occupy the city of Mosul in 2014.

    If hybrid warfare is supposed to mean wars with irregular forces -as a substitute for conventional armies- then this phenomenon is nothing new. What is new, is the lethality of non-conventional ground forces that have caught the world's militaries by surprise.


    Information Warfare and Propaganda


    The Ukraine conflict has seen Russian rebels utilize social media, newspapers, and television to create a Pro-Russian narrative that has sparked outrage and unrest against the Ukrainian government. Russian cyberattacks have included election hacking, phone taps, data mining, and propaganda bots on facebook and twitter. These attacks have helped mask ongoing military operations and have made a mockery of Ukrainian diplomacy, alliances, and international forums. The combined effect however, has mostly been disruptive. Information warfare is nothing new, and what its been able to achieve was also nothing unexpected. What is new is the speed of information -to include fake news- and scale of propaganda campaigns that are able to affect a much larger population. If anything, hybrid warfare has shown how much we are dependent and addicted to information.


    Integrated Warfare


    In the Ukraine conflict, Russia has used all elements of national power to achieve its objectives. These elements have included political, as well as diplomatic, military, economic, and psychological warfare. None of this is new or very innovative except for hybrid targeting.

    Hybrid Targeting:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Hybrid targeting or hybrid warfare in a way, represents war without rules. All centers of gravity can be targeted. There are no frontlines, or limits to who and what can be targeted, and methods from which they can be targeted. Some might say this is asymmetric warfare except hybrid targeting still abides by traditional elements of force. The difference again is persuasion vs. coercion. In hybrid warfare, criminal elements (such as terrorism), military force, insurgencies, and intelligence operations are blended together to erode and destroy a country’s ability to govern or wage war – achieving strategic paralysis. In asymmetric campaigns, insurgencies and guerillas hope to effect will and create political change, which means they must be selective about targets. Hybrid targeting, along with integrated warfare in the 21 century, if anything, appears to be more about total war.


    Law Warfare


    The one truly novel component of hybrid warfare. The goal of law warfare appears to keep war ambiguous, which offers many political advantages for justifying or deterring the use of conventional military force.

    The truly best example of law warfare is the Budapest Memorandum. In return for relinquishing its nuclear stockpile, Ukraine was supposedly assured security assurances from the Russian Federation. What happened next in the Crimea then, was an independent (albeit fake) referendum, based on self-determination, that created a new state -with no existing treaties- which could then allow for Russian military intervention. To his credit, Putin also declared intervention as part of a peacekeeping operation to protect Russian speakers. These afforded him political cover at home and a legal argument that would -if not deter- hurt a western response.

    Self-defense is supposed to be proportionate. Without legal cover however, a true military response to "justified" Russian intervention becomes impossible.


    Proxy Conflict


    It must be pointed out -except for one glaring exception that will be discussed in the last point- that Russia has tried to achieve its aims in the Ukraine at the lowest cost possible. The intervention -as anyone will tell you- was brought on from a position of strategic weakness, as countries in the former Soviet sphere were drifting towards the West. The appearance of little green men in the Crimea, in effect Russian soldiers without insignia, was meant to deny Russian involvement. Though its appears the Russian military did have plans to take Kiev had the opportunity presented itself, by and large the conflict has and is still dominated by non-military forces and Russian rebels. During the conflict, Russia never mobilized a division sized regular army.

    Though I’ve remarked on the sophistication of hybrid targeting, and use of all elements of national power, it must be said that the Ukraine crisis is still a limited conflict. Hybrid warfare then, has a limited component to it, in that it prefers non-military measures over open invasion. Its goals -like all proxy wars- also appear limited to negative ends, and maintaining a status quo rather than instigating change.


    Threat of Nuclear Escalation


    It can be argued that Russian intervention was enabled into the Ukraine by one principle reason – the threat of nuclear retaliation. There wasn’t one and still isn’t one Ukrainian ally willing to risk WWIII because of the Crimean Peninsula. If Russian President Vladimir Putin did not have a nuclear button, its hard to see however how the loss of territorial integrity would not have led to open war. Say what you want about hybrid warfare, whether real or imagined, it was enabled by a high stakes game of chicken. Without a nuclear umbrella, the success of many of the above components -to include Russian intervention- evaporate.


    Conclusion / Final Remarks


    Hybrid warfare has been called many things. Some say it’s a slogan that’s substituted for analysis, others say it’s the 21st century equivalent to Blitzkrieg, a term -but not strategy- largely adopted by others to describe a new form of war. The truth however, between revolution and evolution, is probably somewhere in the middle.

    Whole of government warfare is nothing new, as is the fusion of hard and soft power for the sake of waging war and accomplishing goals. In his book On War, Clausewitz compared war to a chameleon, constantly changing its look to fit with its environment. There can be no doubt now, with all its asymmetries (weapons, protagonists, and modes of fighting) that war has a hybrid look.

    War has always been ugly, and now it’s even uglier.
    Last edited by Dick Cheney.; November 07, 2019 at 07:56 AM.
    "It's not the size of the dog in a fight that counts, but your willingness to murder that dog's family if it loses." - VP Dick Cheney
    For record: I did not vote for Trump/Hillary.

  2. #2
    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Your post made me look up "Hybrid Warfare" in wikipedia.
    I did not read the entire article but the lines I read make it seem a loot like (what is my idea of) total war:
    The employment of every resource available to the belligerents in order to achieve their objectives.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Is "Hybrid Warfare" a variation of asymmetric warfare available to more powerful state actors?

    If we are discussing Russia then they operate in an environment with 1. a US superpower of overwhelming strength but who find sit hard to focus for long on a single non-continental US issue 2. the EU (which overlaps somewhat with the US dominated NATO) which is less strong and less united than either Russia or the US and has recently been destabilised and 3. a variety o former Tsarist/Soviet satellites "up for grabs".

    In the case of Ukraine the unscrupulous US move to detach a long time client of the Moscow regime provoke the strongest possible response Putin could afford: any more open conflict would have led to open warfare with the US, a losing fight for Russia. By spreading points of contact across a spectrum he is fighting the war on his own terms, but also in terms relevant to the Ukrainians. This avoids the Vietnam problem of attempting to fight a simple war in a complex place.

    The US has made the issue simple for Russia: "get out of our client state". What is the US slogan in Ukraine? "Hmm, where is Crimea anyways? I had a bad poll last week and I want to focus on the impeachment so mebbe stahp for a bit? Or can i spin this to make [other party] look bad"

    The US famously has a very ignorant electorate, and the US administration (with its short lived department bureaucracies) struggles to maintain focus across the world stage. By making the fight more complex it makes it less likely a US President can find the headspace to address let alone push back on all the issues.

    Putin has played Trump like a fiddle. He's managed to claw back some control in parts of Ukraine, but the difference in power is staggering. Its seems only a small sector of the US elite is interested in exploiting Ukraine as a client but that was enough to topple the pro-Moscow regime and put in their own corrupt mates. Biden's son and Trump's lawyer have gone there to harvest the gains, but no enough rich people care about Ukraine to go to war over it. Its a highly asymmetric fight but Puin has played it smart to turn a 100% loss into maybe a 70% loss, by smart and harsh play.

    Against the EU Russia has less options, but less to fear. Member states like Germany Poland and Sweden have their eyes firmly on Russia. Any move to return the Baltic States to Russian control would draw a powerful response. The less unified structure of the EU (and the suicidal move by the UK to leave) mean its very unlikely they would take an aggressive move against Moscow, but if Putin tried to pull a Ukraine in Poland it would be war on every level he initiated conflict. Its not a symmetric strategic situation but there is symmetry of attention at least.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Biden's son and Trump's lawyer have gone there to harvest the gains
    Tisk tisk what Giuliani did was vastly different from sitting on a board. You know how many people sit on boards for a free check who have no reason to be there? In the US or the EU or in the land down under?

    https://www.boeing.com/company/gener...overnance.page

    How many of those people had any ideal about the engineering and programing that created the 737 Max fiasco, how many even if they got the emails would make anything of it, how many dove down into their supposed corporate governance responsibilities to detect a real cluster F--- was about to happen. Or are they just like the board of say Enron? Because you know they were doing work and being responsible to share holders --- err right. We are in the new gilded age its pretty hard to turn down a do nothing job for a paycheck and free flights. You know I don't see on Boeing board any single person who came up from the ranks of Boeing engineering and design or any other aerospace company comparable career in any engineering field related to flying airplanes or a ex member of national transportation and safety board. We got one Admiral who did actually command something but given the recent run off USN screw up in acquisitions I pretty sure he is just sitting at the table as part of the revolving pentagon door that should be closed. So that leaves the CEO Muilenburg who should clearly have noticed the e mail he was getting but not one other person qualified to know if he was ignoring crap.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Quote Originally Posted by paleologos View Post
    Your post made me look up "Hybrid Warfare" in wikipedia.
    I did not read the entire article but the lines I read make it seem a loot like (what is my idea of) total war:
    The employment of every resource available to the belligerents in order to achieve their objectives.
    Except that the conventional component is usually minimal. Plus I wouldn't trust any article on hybrid warfare that omits any mention of ligers or humanzees.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    ... I wouldn't trust any article on hybrid warfare that omits any mention of ligers or humanzees.
    "...by foul craft Sumskilz has crossed Neanderthals with grad student "volunteers", he's breeding an army in the caverns of Nahal Amud!"
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    humanzees
    The history of is a bit more strange than the usual Stalin wanted to try it thing

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...superwarriors/
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB Dromikaites

    'One day when I fly with my hands - up down the sky, like a bird'

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place; some swearing, some crying for surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left.

    Hyperides of Athens: We know, replied he, that Antipater is good, but we (the Demos of Athens) have no need of a master at present, even a good one.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    "...by foul craft Sumskilz has crossed Neanderthals with grad student "volunteers", he's breeding an army in the caverns of Nahal Amud!"
    Hey, if you've heard anything about Manot Cave, I had nothing to do with it. That was way before my time.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    The history of is a bit more strange than the usual Stalin wanted to try it thing

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...superwarriors/
    Yeah, good article.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: What is Hybrid Warfare?

    Looks like the definition of "Hybrid Warfare" as asymmetric brinkmanship holds up.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    The history of is a bit more strange than the usual Stalin wanted to try it thing

    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com...superwarriors/
    There are two relevant meme responses to this, and both include Jeff Goldblum.

    The 'Blum




    There's semi regular claims about Chinese labs creating organ bank hybrids or supposedly docile workers (not sure if they know much about chimps, they are murdering ****ers). I think there was an Italian researcher involved?
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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