The archetype of hybrid warfare

Dr Johann Schmid, Director COI Strategy & Defence at Hybrid CoE, contributed to the latest issue of Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift (ÖMZ) (Austrian Military Journal) with an article on ‘The archetype of hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare vs. military-centric warfare’.

The article elaborates the thesis that hybrid warfare as a concept would only be well grounded if based on the existence of a respective counterpart. This counterpart is identified in military-centric warfare and was exemplified in the case of the Falklands War (1982). In comparison with the Second Indochina War as an ‘archetype’ of hybrid warfare, conclusions are drawn in the article for a theory of hybrid warfare.

The main arguments advanced:

  • As ‘a continuation of policy by other means’ (Clausewitz), war is inherently hybrid. At the same time, however, a specific hybrid way of conducting war can be identified. This is hybrid warfare in the narrower sense.
  • In order to conceptualize this hybrid warfare, it is particularly important to distinguish it from its counterpart. Without such a counterpart, any concept of hybrid warfare would not be well grounded.
  • This counterpart can be identified as ‘conventional’ or, more precisely, military-centric warfare. The main distinguishing feature relates to the question of where the centre of gravity in awar/confrontation is located.
  • In contrast to military-centric warfare, the centre of gravity in hybrid warfare is not primarily located in the military domain but rests in a broad, combined and flexibly used spectrum of multiple domains and dimensions, both military and non-military.

See Johann Schmid: ‘Der Archetypus hybrider Kriegführung. Hybride Kriegführung vs. militärisch zentrierte Kriegführung‘ [The archetype of hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare vs. military-centric warfare]. In: Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift (ÖMZ), Heft 5/2020, ISSN 0048-1440. S. 570-579.

Founded in 1808, the ÖMZ is the world’s oldest professional journal on military science.    

For further information, please contact Dr Johann Schmid, Director COI Strategy & Defence.

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