Hybrid Warfare: Above or Below the Threshold of Armed Conflict?

Marco Marsili
2021 Zenodo  
The nature of conflict has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Hybrid warfare — also known as grey zone conflict or low-intensity conflict — is a reality and political and military leaders must be ready to confront and deter it. Hybrid warfare is the effort to achieve strategic objectives without using significant force. There is no common definition of the term and therefore it is correspondingly ambiguous. It is an amorphous definition for an amorphous strategy. While it is a
more » ... of traditional and irregular tactics, hybrid warfare makes overt and covert use of a wide range of tools: military and civilian, conventional and unconventional. However, the term is so broad that it includes a set of tactics, techniques, technologies and methods. Hybrid warfare is an umbrella concept that can include, inter alia, information and disinformation operations, deception, troop movements, cyberattacks, sabotage and other non-military tactics or a combination of all these means. It can also include actual force. Hybrid warfare can be considered a form of comprehensive warfare, a strategy, not merely a set of tactics and techniques. This array of military activities may fall under the broad definition of hybrid warfare, that is not new, but is boosted by technological advance. Furthermore, hybrid warfare is low risk, low cost and provides an adversary the opportunity to cloud, throwing doubt on who is responsible for these "gray zone" actions. Hybrid warfare operations, for which it is difficult to attribute responsibility and which are not specifically regulated by international law, fall below the threshold of armed conflict and are convenient to be used to destabilize a government or to try to legitimize (unlawful) actions. Covert operations and support to proxies, such as independentists and secessionists, are facilitated by the nature of hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare blurs the lines between peace and war and is therefore questioned whether it should be considered below the threshold of armed confl [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.6657849 fatcat:qwtg4k5iufaabnozp3zmqgmtbm