This report uses empirical data to deepen our understanding of hybrid threats and explores how the underlying principles of NATO Strategic Communications might be applied at the national level in response to them.
Hybrid threats are a combination of hostile measures such as subversion, disinformation, economic coercion, demonstrations of military force or cyber attacks. Adversaries blend these levers of influence together, achieving their security goals while damaging our own national interests. Their preference is to operate in the so-called ‘greyzone’ which exists between peace and war. Hybrid threats are therefore often difficult to identify and attribute.
The research builds on our publication ‘Hybrid Threats – A Strategic Communications Perspective’. Thirty case studies are compared and the various instruments of power employed by hostile states are scrutinised, along with prevalent narratives, actors and audiences.
Strategic Communications is applied as a function of basic statecraft, integral to the formulation of strategy and not just a supporting capability. This is manifested in direction and guidance that informs government responses and enables a coherent, interagency approach to strategic influence.
It will be of interest to people working in intelligence, policy development, planning or strategic communications in national government.