Hybrid CoE engages with the Vienna Strategy Conference

Hybrid CoE and the Community of Interest Strategy and Defence (COI S&D) started strategic engagement with the Vienna Strategy Conference (24.-28. June 2019) hosted by the National Defence Academy (LVAk). Dr. Johann Schmid, Director COI S&D, provided Hybrid Warfare related expertise to the Conference and contributed to the panel “Strategy in Cyberspace”.

Key theses provided and discussed:

  • Hybrid warfare is strategic in nature. It combines the tailored use of hard, soft and smart power elements with asymmetric means and methods and potentially includes all levels of military escalation.
  • Hybrid ways of warfare are not new in essence and nature. They are as old as the history of war.
  • However, what is new and different today, is the fact, that hybrid adversaries are significantly and increasingly empowered by two parameters:
    globalisation and new technologies.
  • Globalisation and the resulting significantly increased connectivity open up numerous additional starting points for hybrid methods while new
    technologies, particularly of the information age, are the enabling factors of globalisation and give unprecedented power (e.g. propaganda-power)
    even to non-state actors and individuals.
  • The cyber-domain plays an important role in this context with a specific relationship to hybrid methods of warfare: It supports the creation of
    ambiguity, makes attribution difficult and creates new interfaces and grey areas e.g. between the real- and the virtual-world.
  • In combination with the information-space new possibilities of manipulation, propaganda and subversion are created. At the same time offensive
    cyber capabilities are created to infiltrate and attack e.g. critical infrastructure and induce even kinetic implications.
  • Technological trends suggest, that the portfolio of hybrid hazards will rapidly expand. This calls for the necessity to understand new technologies and their disruptive potential first, before we are (hopefully not) confronted with their Hybrid Warfare implications.
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