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Research Report

Deterrence as a security concept against non-traditional threats: In-depth study Clingendael Monitor 2015

Frans-Paul van der Putten
Minke Meijnders
Jan Rood
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2015
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 64
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 6-7)

    The main question in this part of the Clingendael Monitor 2015 concerns the extent to which deterrence, as a security concept and instrument, can in the coming five to ten years be a relevant and effective way of protecting Dutch security interests against international, non-traditional threats.¹ The 2010 report ‘Defensieverkenningen’ already noted the continuing importance of deterrence as a means of discouraging “activities that run counter to the security interests of the Kingdom and the international rule of law”.² The focus was on deterrence in the form of establishing the prospect of credible retaliatory action against current, particularly military threats....

  2. (pp. 8-10)

    Deterrence has a long history in the context of maintaining law and order and as a military strategy. It became a tenet in the international security environment of the Cold War as a response to the existence of nuclear weapons. The concept has since been further developed in both academic and policy terms.

    Deterrence is aimed at discouraging undesirable behaviour. The definition of deterrence used in this study is as follows:

    Only measures deliberately aimed at discouraging would-be perpetrators and/or their facilitators (individuals who provide support and thereby make it possible for perpetrators to carry out their attack) form part...

  3. (pp. 10-13)

    This study considers the extent to which deterrence is a relevant instrument for the protection of Dutch security interests. What are these national security interests and to what extent are they actually or potentially at risk because of the external threats discussed in this study? Maintaining the territorial integrity of the Netherlands – that is, guaranteeing its continued existence as an independent state – is a primary or vital security interest. In addition to this primary interest, the Dutch National Security Strategy includes four other vital security interests: economic security, environmental security, physical security and social and political stability.9 Economic...

  4. (pp. 13-19)

    There are different direct and indirect threats facing Dutch society. As stated, this study focuses on cyber threats, threats in the economic domain, terrorist threats, the threats posed by organised crime and the threats emanating from ambiguous warfare. Although these threats are not new in and of themselves, the way in which each threat manifests itself has changed. The threats are discussed in detail individually in separate appendices. This section provides an outline of the current situation and expectations for the coming five to ten years in terms of the nature of each threat and the way in which it...

  5. (pp. 19-27)

    The ways in which deterrence as a security concept is relevant to the five main areas of threat on which this report focuses are discussed below. The discussion is arranged according to the analysis framework introduced in the second section and is based on the exploratory analysis of each main area of threat. These exploratory analyses are included as appendices to this report.

    The purpose of deterrence is to discourage potential perpetrators by influencing their assessment of costs relative to potential gains. If the expected costs associated with carrying out an act that is harmful to the Netherlands increase and/or...

  6. (pp. 27-29)

    This study explores the possible usefulness to the Dutch government of deterrence as a security concept with respect to the non-traditional security threats of terrorism, crime, threats in the cyber and economic domains, and ambiguous warfare. The starting point in this regard is that deterrence can be achieved by influencing the costs versus gains assessment of potential perpetrators or their facilitators such that it is less attractive or unattractive to perform or support harmful acts.

    The main conclusions of this study are, first, that deterrence as a security concept is relevant to all of the five main areas of threat...