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Research Report


Franklin D. Kramer
Lauren M. Speranza
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2017
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 35
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 4-4)

    Hybrid challenges continue to threaten security across the Euro-Atlantic community. Though hybrid has multiple aspects, this paper particularly analyzes hybrid challenges facing the overlapping nations of NATO and the European Union (EU) that are a function of deliberate and persistent Russian activities. While hybrid conflict has been defined in many ways, this paper describes hybrid threats to include four key categories: low-level use of force; cyberattacks; economic and political coercion and subversion; and information war.

    Although these actions are not new, the past few years have shown a sharp increase in their intensity and scope. While the West has undertaken...

  2. (pp. 4-14)

    Responding to Russia’s hybrid challenge requires an understanding of the Russian worldview and the actions taken in support of that perspective.⁴ Russia itself is an authoritarian regime with a decided anti-Western orientation and highly corrupt governing and economic institutions. One analysis underscored “Mr. Putin’s insistence that he be allowed to run Russia solely the way he needs and wants,” and how the “system … depends on cronyism, corruption and abuse of privilege.”⁵ Another stated, “What is distinctive about Russia is that under the reign of President Putin it has become an authoritarian regime.”⁶ A third quotes Putin’s own statement: “I...

  3. (pp. 14-29)

    Responding to Russia’s hybrid challenge requires a comprehensive strategic approach that addresses the multifaceted aspects of hybrid warfare. The objective of any such strategy would be to contain, by limiting and counteracting, Russian hybrid efforts. Fundamental elements of the strategy should be effective defensive efforts, a capacity for resilience in the face of Russian actions, and, as appropriate, cost-imposing measures. A strategy to meet hybrid challenges is not, of course, the entirety of a Western strategy for Russia. An overall strategic approach would include deterrence at the conventional and nuclear levels, diplomacy to determine whether areas of potential cooperation exist,...

  4. (pp. 29-29)

    Russia’s hybrid challenge raises major concerns for transatlantic nations. A comprehensive coordinated strategy is needed that will engage both the nations of NATO and the European Union, as well as the institutions themselves. The structural and functional recommendations outlined here could form the building blocks of such a strategy and provide the framework for deterring Russian hybrid action in the future....