Policy paper: Understanding “hybrid war”: A mechanism-design approach

4 December 2020

Author: Dumitru Mînzărari, Associate Analyst, IPRE

Executive Summary

Building an early warning system for any type of threat requires a good understanding of that threat, which includes its signals, manifestations, means, targeted domains, and the impact it generates. To be able to do this we need to understand the hybrid war dynamics and mechanisms. This is the main focus of current analysis. It argues that the hybrid war targets specifically population (and political leadership), aiming to influence its perceptions (beliefs) and consequently its behavior.

Then, this influence is exploited to affect, influence or alter the political leadership, which consequently allows changing the internal and external policies of the target state. A hybrid aggression allows a foreign actor to technically become a domestic actor in the target state, avoiding detection and the costs imposed by international law for interstate aggression.

This aggression is done through the information operational domain of war and is facilitated by the lack of national borders in the information and communication spaces, which today is truly global. Building on this new understanding of hybrid war – as a logical foundation – we can then identify the logical bottlenecks and vulnerabilities of the hybrid type of interstate aggression.

This policy brief was published within the project Deriving an Effective Early Warning Mechanism for Addressing the Hybrid Threats”, supported by the Dutch Embassy Office in the Republic of Moldova. The views expressed in this policy brief are the ones of the author only.

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