A photograph of a video camera with an ammo strip draped over the top.

The blurring of traditional distinctions between armed conflicts

Defining Hybrid Warfare

January 2020, Number 10.01

“Following the Russian Federation’s invasion of Crimea in March 2014, hybrid warfare ceased to be a subject studied only by military strategists and entered the wider policy domain as a significant security challenge for the West. The term hybrid warfare attempts to capture the complexity of 21st-century warfare, which involves a multiplicity of actors, blurs the traditional distinctions between types of armed conflict, and even between war and peace. Although hybrid warfare is a Western term, not Russian, all sorts of hostile Russian activities  from the covert use of special forces to election manipulation and economic coercion  have been labeled hybrid and caused growing alarm in Western security establishments. There are many definitions of hybrid warfare and these definitions continue to evolve. Defining hybrid warfare is not just an academic exercise because these definitions may determine how states perceive and respond to hybrid threats and which government agencies are involved in countering them…”

Excerpt from James K. Wither, “Defining Hybrid Warfare,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 10, No. 1, 2020: 7-9.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.