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Activity title

Military Aspects of Countering Hybrid Warfare: Experiences, Lessons, Best Practices

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System Analysis and Studies

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Hybrid Warfare, irregular warfare, new generation warfare


The occupation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine has seen Russia apply a mix of traditional and novel means to further its policy goals. Often referred to as hybrid warfare, these methods have created specific challenges for Ukraine and NATO more broadly. In partnership with Ukraine, the SAS-121 activity leveraged the experiences and expertise of Ukrainian military and government personnel to provide a better understanding of Russia’s actions and Ukraine’s response to those actions. While that work yielded some unique insight, the breadth of topics addressed in the SAS-121 limited the depth to which any particular subject could be investigated. Using SAS-121 and the National Defence University of Ukraine’s (NDUU) “Countering The Tactics of Hybrid Warfare: Military Aspects” (Kalmius Project) as a starting point, the exploratory team proposes an activity that focuses in depth on a more select set of topics. The activity, conducted in partnership with the NDUU, will strengthen the ties between NATO and Ukraine and supports the objectives of the NATO-Ukraine Platform for Countering Hybrid Warfare.


This work will focus on the analysis of the military aspects of hybrid warfare in which military actions create both military and non-military effects and non-military actions can have both non-military and military effects. The complex relationship between action and effect means that learning from such analysis is important to both military staff and civilians involved in defence and security affairs in a multi-domain environment. This work will contribute to the professional development and training of military and civilian planners and analysts at the operational and strategic levels. This will be done through the provision of curriculum guidance and resources to defence professional development and training institutions in NATO and Ukraine. Ukraine will also benefit from the exchange of knowledge and best practices from other countries that have experienced destabilizing and aggressive Russian activities.


Approach • Identify and select specific topics from the SAS-121 report and the NDUU Kalmius project for deeper research and analysis • As appropriate, develop case studies of Russian destabilizing and aggressive activities against Ukraine and other countries and the responses to those Russian activities; • Conduct gap analysis of relevant NATO and Ukraine defence and security professional development and training curricula • Use case studies to evaluate the effect of Russian activities and how these challenge military and civilian capabilities, national processes, structures, legislation and regulation. The effect of the responses (if any) to Russian activity will also be assessed.

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