It is increasingly common to hear the term “hybrid warfare” used to describe the complexities of the modern battlefield. When Russia uses a “combination of instruments, some military and some non-military, choreographed to surprise, confuse, and wear down” Ukraine, it is termed hybrid warfare. The term also refers to conflicts which are both international and non-international in character, such as the ongoing conflict in Syria.
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The Intelligence Studies Essay: "Hybrid Warfare" at Home: Asymmetric Tactics Are Not Just Used in Ukraine, They Are Employed against the United States, and Have Been for Quite Some Time
Darren E. Tromblay has served as an intelligence analyst with the U.S. government for more than a decade. He holds an MA from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, an MS from the National Defense Intelligence College, and a BA from the University of California and is a graduate of the National Intelligence University’s Denial and Deception Advanced Studies Program. Mr. Tromblay is the author of The U.S. Domestic Intelligence Enterprise, published by Taylor & Francis in 2016 and a co-author of Securing U.S.
Russia’s intervention in Syria seems to have caught U.S. officials by surprise, although the build-up for it must have been going on for months and is unlikely to have been missed by intelligence agencies. The surprise, therefore, seems to denote not a lack of good intelligence but yet another case of willful blindness borne out of a commitment to a particular worldview to which the Obama Administration continues to hold onto despite the growing list of crises and conflicts that it has generated.
Ben Wittes’ commentary about hybrid conflict asks “what is really new in this idea of hybrid conflict”?, and answers by giving a cyber example that falls at the seams of existing international law. He points out that when government officials do not know how to apply existing law or what laws do apply, they don’t apply anything at all.