Workshop: Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do?

När: 2017-11-14 till 2017-11-15

The international security environment has seemingly left the post-cold war parenthesis of everlasting peace and evolved into a volatile and increasingly grey area of war and peace. Security challenges arising from both hybrid wars and hybrid threats are today high on security agendas in Sweden, Europe as well as internationally.

However, despite the attention there is today a lack of research that address how such "new" wars and threats should be handled. While studies do exist addressing specific issues, a comprehensive approach to how hybrid wars and threats are to be handled are still lacking. This is particularly so when it comes to experience sharing between states. The here proposed workshop will be a first step towards developing such a comprehensive approach.

The aim of this workshop is to bridge across disciplinary boundaries as well as between researchers and practitioners within and outside Sweden, utilising each group's extensive experiences and knowledge in to a coherent whole. The aim of the workshop is to besides producing and disseminate new knowledge, to work as the foundation for long-term collaboration, being the first step in the creation of a European Network on Hybrid Warfare Capabilities that can work across borders as well as being a channel between the state of the art of research and practice.

The workshop

Though being mainly a scientific workshop, a number of practitioners will be invited. Our aim is that each session shall include a mix of presentations by academics and practitioners. The workshop's discussions will aim to facilitate innovative and reflective discussions across the academic-practitioner border. To facilitate the production of new knowledge and the development of future cooperation we are not expecting finished papers from all participants, but instead we want to put emphasise on facilitating the development of new ideas associated with hybrid threats/warfare broadly speaking. Thus, while we aim for publication of the papers we do not expect all participants to present finished papers at the time of the conference; presentations of paper outlines are ok.

We invite papers addressing the following themes:

- The role of the armed forces

Example of topics: Hybrid threats in the Swedish context: today and in the future; What resources does the army have?; The European/NATO experiences; Ukraine: lessons learned.

- Cyber in a hybrid context

Example of topics: Cyber attacks on the armed forces; Psycological effects of cyber within greater influence operations; Cyber and crisis management; China; Russia; the role of information Operations in current security scenarios.

- Russia and Hybrid Warfare

Example of topics: Russian Hybrid Warfare in Georgia and/or Ukraine: lessons learned, Hybrid warfare capability, Russia's strategic culture and the concept of hybrid and cyber threats.

- Hybrid War and Threats: the legal grey area

Example of topics: The legal implications of Hybrid War; Lawfare; Information Operations and Hybrid Warfare within its legal context; Legal Mandate for Countering Hybrid Threats in Sweden; Mandate abroad; Legal basis for the armed forces/ security services?; Law fare as Hybrid Warfare; Lawfare in Info Ops; Lawfare in the Arctic and South China Sea.

- Total defence cooperation

Example of topics: The role of intelligence; Civil-Military cooperation: the role of MSB/FM/Police; Total Defence ("Totalförsvaret"), "Small Green Men" on Gotland: What to do?

Time: 14-15 November 2017
Location: Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden
General inquiries: niklas.nilsson [at] fhs.se

Organising committee:

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Mikael Weissmann, Assoc. Prof. in War Studies (military operations), Land Operation Section, SEDU
  • Project Coordinator, UK: Dr. Sascha-Dominik Bachmann, Assoc. Prof. in Law, Bournemouth University, UK
  • Project Coordinator, Sweden: Dr. Niklas Nilsson, Assistant Professor in War Studies, Land Operation Section, SEDU
  • Dr. Håkan Gunneriusson, Head of research & deputy head of Land Operation section, SEDU
  • Per Thunholm, Senior Analyst at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS), SEDU

Workshop organized by:

  • Land Operation Section, Dept. of Military Studies at Swedish Defence University (SEDU) in collaboration with
  • Centre for Conflict, Rule of Law and Society, Bournemouth University
  • Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS), SEDU

Funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) (Grant No: F16-1240:1)