The 4th Cyber Power Symposium on Hybrid Conflict and Warfare

On 13 October, the 4th Cyber Power Symposium on Hybrid Conflict and Warfare (CPH) gathered together experts from 27 Hybrid CoE Participating States, the EU and NATO, as well as from Australia, Japan, Ukraine and Switzerland. The focus of the event was on hybrid and cyber aspects of cognitive warfare. Various questions were addressed during the event, such as: Is cognitive warfare equivalent to information warfare, or broader like cyber warfare, and what are their differences? Can cognitive warfare be countered by means of cyber defence, or do we need an additional cognitive defence with cyber elements? How are instruments of cognitive warfare combined with other hybrid threat instruments in operations against Western societies?

To sum up the discussions of the day, it was agreed that in the era of cyber warfare it is also essential to understand the effects of cognitive warfare. Adversaries are intent upon influencing us and our thinking to penetrate decision-making circles, whether focused on energy-related decisions, applying for NATO membership, or something else. It also means that economic and national security are now two sides of the same coin. To destabilize democratic states, hybrid threats are employed in cyber operations, information warfare, cyber-enabled disinformation operations, foreign direct investment, as well as in social media to manipulate large numbers of people. Sovereignty will duly take on a new meaning. As a consequence, not only land borders have to be defended but also the cyber and information space, as well as the control of data.

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