Hybrid Threats, Cyber Warfare and NATO’s Comprehensive Approach for Countering 21st Century Threats – Mapping the New Frontier of Global Risk and Security Management
Amicus Curiae, Vol. 88, 2012
4 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2012 Last revised: 5 Apr 2015
Date Written: January 22, 2012
The end of the so-called "Cold War" has seen a change in the nature of present threats and with it to the overall role and mission of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in 1991 also removed the original raison d’etre of the Alliance: the prospect of having to repel a Soviet led attack by the Warsaw Pact on the West.
Multimodal, low intensity, kinetic as well as non-kinetic threats to international peace and security including cyber war, low intensity asymmetric conflict scenarios, global terrorism, piracy, transnational organized crime, demographic challenges, resources security, retrenchment from globalization and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were identified by NATO as so called "Hybrid Threats" (cf BI-SC Input for a New NATO Capstone Concept for The Military Contribution to Countering Hybrid Enclosure 1 to 1500/CPPCAM/FCR/10-270038 and 5000 FXX/0100/TT-0651/SER: NU0040, dated 25 August 2010).
Having identified this kind of emerging threat, NATO is working on a comprehensive conceptual framework, (the Capstone Concept) which provides the framework for identifying and discussing such threats and possible multi-stakeholder responses. In essence, Hybrid Threats faced by NATO and its non-military partners require a comprehensive approach allowing a wide spectrum of responses, kinetic and non-kinetic by military and non-military actors (see "Updated List of Tasks for the Implementation of the Comprehensive Approach Action Plan and the Lisbon Summit Decisions on the Comprehensive Approach," dated 4 March 2011, p 1-10, paragraph 1).
This short article introduces the reader to a new form of global threat scenario and the possibilities of response and deterrence within their wider legal and political context.
Keywords: Assymetric Warfare, Terrorism, Piracy, Failed States, Law of Armed Conflict, Threats, Peace and Security, Non-State Actors,NATO, Military Strategies
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