Hybrid warfare – a threat to the national security of the state




National academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

Abstract: In the context of hybrid warfare, an urgent question arises as to the adequacy of responding to its challenges. Ukraine, the EU countries and NATO are facing new threats, which require democracies to make changes in military and political activities, to find new forms and methods of ensuring national security. Hybrid warfare as a form of undeclared war is conducted with the integrated use of military and non-military instruments (economic, political, informational and psychological, etc.), which fundamentally changes the nature of military struggle.

Thus, the change in the nature of the current armed conflict and the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine have created an impetus to accelerate transformations and structural changes in the security and defence sector of Ukraine.

One of the priority areas of defence reform is the modernization of the management system of the security and defence sector in order to bring it in line with modern military conflicts, achieve interoperability of Ukraine’s defence forces, systematic transition to NATO standards (STANAG) in the organization, armament and training of troops (forces), as well as in the system of operational decision-making.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has launched a process of destroying the system of European and transatlantic security. The Kremlin’s hybrid actions against Ukraine and other regional states are undermining stability in the area from the Baltic to the Black Sea, creating a serious challenge to peace and security in the region.

Ukraine can become a powerful ally with significant military capabilities and invaluable practical experience, including in the field of combating hybrid threats, with successful reforms for NATO membership and a relevant consensus in NATO.

Keywords: Нybrid warfare, National security, Operational and service activities, Military conflicts, NATO.

Recibido: 24 de febrero de 2021. Aceptado: 10 de marzo de 2021.

Para citar este artículo/To cite this article: Artem Bratko, Denys Zaharchuk & Valentyn Zolka, <<Hybrid warfare – a threat to the national security of the state>>, Revista de Estudios en Seguridad Internacional, Vol. 7, No. 1, (2021), pp. 147-160. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18847/1.13.10

Main Text

Despite the fact that hybrid warfare, its tools and stages are well described in academic literature, Russian aggression in Ukraine, illegal annexation of the Crimea and further actions in eastern Ukraine have raised this issue on the international agenda, brought up new questions about hybrid warfare tools and nonlinear instruments resorted to by the Russian Federation.

Source Analysis

The use of appropriate terms by NATO (Racz, 2015) has become a breakthrough in the discourse on hybrid warfare and hybrid threats.

In the NATO Review of July 1, 2014 Allies publicly and openly pointed out that “hybrid warfare” became a new form of warfare (NATO Review, 2014).

The term was soon picked up by the world’s leading media, and during the NATO summit in Wales in September 2014, it was proposed to consider “hybrid” means as “a wide range of overt and covert military, paramilitary, and civilian measures” (paragraph 13) (Wales Summit Declaration, 2014).

In addition, already in 2016 at the summit in Warsaw, it was decided to extend Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to attacks against one of the allies using hybrid methods: “The Alliance and Allies will be prepared to counter hybrid warfare as part of collective defence. The Council could decide to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty” (paragraph 72) (Warsaw Summit Communique, 2016).

At the same time, a strategy to counter hybrid warfare was approved. Coincidently, it should be noted that the term “hybrid warfare” has been actively used by the US and NATO military since 2006 – in relation to Hezbollah’s actions during the Lebanese-Israeli conflict (Gates, 2009: 28-40).

And the methods of “hybrid warfare” were actively used in ancient times, the Middle Ages and the secret services of the Soviet Union. William Nemeth, John McCuen, Frank Hoffmann, and Russell Glenn are among the authors of providing detailed definitions of hybrid warfare. Some believe that the term of “hybrid means” comes from the works of W. Nemeth about the Chechen war, in which he mentions that the actions of the parties during that conflict were not limited to the battlefield, but became a blend of regular and irregular methods and their flexible combinations in an extended nonlinear sense with the use of information tools aimed at gaining an advantage over the enemy (Nemeth, 2002: 74).

For J. McCuen, hybrid conflicts include the full range of wars in their physical and conceptual dimensions, including the struggle against the armed enemy, the broader struggle with the support of the local population, and with the support of the international community (McCuen, 2008: 108).

F. Hoffman, in turn, believes that hybrid risks include a variety of tools: conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts including indiscriminate violence and coercion, as well as criminal disorder, and are generally operationally and tactically managed and coordinated to achieve synergistic effect in the physical and psychological dimensions of conflict (Hoffman, 2007).

Russia’s recent operations in Ukraine, especially the integrated use of militias, gangsters, information operations, intelligence, and special forces have created a concern in the West about a new way of war, sometimes described as “hybrid” (Galeotti, 2016).

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has launched a process of destroying the system of European and transatlantic security. The Kremlin’s hybrid actions against Ukraine and other regional states are undermining stability in the area from the Baltic to the Black Sea, creating a serious challenge to peace and security in the region.

The operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to occupy the Crimean Peninsula is a camouflaged force part of Russia’s hybrid aggression plan against Ukraine. This was a pre-planned stage of involving the military component of the hybrid war in case if it is not possible to achieve the strategic goal, i.e. to conquer Ukraine completely after an intensive proxy phase that lasted from August 14, 2013 to February 20, 2014.

The operation for the occupation and annexation of the Crimea has become exemplary in terms of compliance of the achieved goals with the previously developed plan and the sequence of its implementation. It has become a kind of inimitable standard for hybrid aggression. The developed template was immediately applied during the next stage of the “Russian Spring”, i. e. “Novorosiia (New Russia)” project.

Response to threats

Analysis of the current situation shows that the military component of the hybrid warfare is not diminishing at all. The Crimea is becoming not only a large Russian military base, but also a centre for the spread of Russian influence far beyond the Black Sea.

Hybrid warfare uses all dimensions of state power to impose its will on another state, pushing the weakest points of development and achieving results. In fact, this type of warfare presupposes that society itself becomes the first line of defence.

To actively respond to the hybrid warfare of the Russian Federation, the transatlantic community needs to learn to anticipate the non-obvious consequences, to create a system of meaningful indicators that will warn of a problem, something like an early warning system.

Among the effective tools for minimizing Russia’s aggressive capabilities are economic sanctions, reducing the EU’s dependence on Russia (especially in the energy sector), and diplomatic cooperation.

Active measures include risks mitigation and prevention. It is for this purpose that the European Centre for Countering Hybrid Threats, which operates under the auspices of the EU and NATO, was established in Finland. This is an example of synergy and active action to protect the interests of the Western world.

The UN Security Council has already become a site of “deep concern”, and the OSCE platform is being used as a tool to manipulate the facts. Moscow is moving the “red lines”, and it is the EU and NATO that must stop such actions by the Kremlin. Only then, it will be possible to talk about effective measures at the national level.

It is necessary to respond to the world hybrid warfare with accentuated global actions, as this phenomenon knows no boundaries. The Western world is not only Europe and North America, but also Australia, Japan, South Korea and other countries of the world that share democratic values. Nevertheless, a special role has historically been assigned to the United States as an informal long-time leader of the Western liberal world.

We need not only a transatlantic but also a global approach to solving the problem. But above all, it is transatlantic, because the main goal of Russia’s hybrid warfare is to critically weaken the West and its values. NATO must respond accordingly.

Hybrid warfare is impossible without a military component. Although persistence, being tested for strength by the tools of hybrid aggression, is much more likely to be related to society, the economy or politicians than the military and law enforcement agencies.

Russia’s aggression has revealed weaknesses in the Alliance’s defence system in Eastern Europe, marking a level of vulnerability on its South-Eastern flank. The annexation of the Crimea and the subsequent increased military activity of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea area have created additional security threats for NATO member and partner countries, forming a springboard for the spread of Russian influence in the Mediterranean and the Middle East direction. There are particular concerns about the Baltic States with parts of Russian minorities concerning which Moscow may have “the right to protect its compatriots.”

The army’s persistence to non-military threats is one of the requirements of the defence reform currently being implemented in Ukraine. A combination of civilian and military capabilities is needed to protect the state. In addition, given the military experience, Ukraine needs to harshly increase the Navy’s capabilities, adopt missile systems, and build infrastructure in left-bank and southern Ukraine, since it has been mostly focused on the “external” western border in Soviet times.

Ukraine is motivated by the presence of 29 battalion-tactical groups of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, located along the common border and ready for the offensive operations. Instead, militarized Crimea is Russia’s centre of influence far beyond the region, and aggression in Azov is an instrument of pressure.

A significant challenge for Ukraine is the cycle of defence strategic planning i. e. from the National Security Strategy to the Comprehensive Review of the Security and Defence Sector. The dialogue in the framework of Ukraine’s interaction with NATO has practical value, because, de facto, Ukraine is a country on the eastern flank of the Alliance, which reflects military aggression.

As a result of the policies of recent years, with the prevailing view of the absence of threat of a major war, NATO members’ ability to wage a full-scale, high-intensity conventional warfare has diminished. It is not only a matter of reducing the military capabilities and combat skills for appropriate operations conduct by the military, but also the lack of awareness of the full range of consequences of such a war on the part of the public and the political elites of NATO countries. At the same time, NATO has concluded that Moscow’s actions require multidimensional responses, both within international law, and at the operational and tactical level, as well as in the search for new conceptual approaches to support transatlantic security. New foundations are being formed for NATO activities to actively deter the Kremlin’s aggressive policies. Awareness of the need to develop a set of measures to deter the aggressor is vital in order to prevent the implementation of the scenario of a full-scale war in Europe.

NATO has initiated the largest strengthening of collective defence since the end of the Cold War because Russia illegally annexed the Crimea in 2014 and new security challenges emerged on the southern flank, including ruthless attacks by ISIS and other terrorist groups on several continents. For example, the NATO Response Force was tripled; an extremely rapid response force, the so-called Spearhead unit of 5,000 troops, was established, and multinational battle groups were deployed in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In addition, NATO is increasing its presence on the Alliance’s south-eastern flank, with a multinational brigade based in Romania as a central element. The Alliance is also stepping up air patrol missions over the Baltic and Black Seas. The military capability of the “first line”, in particular, the joint system of surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance, is being developed. At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO member states recognized cyberspace as a new area of operational action and pledged to take steps to improve the protection of networks, missions and operations. NATO, as a key element of European and Euro-Atlantic security, is adapting to changes in the security environment, modifying key approaches to its activities, especially with regard to deterring Moscow.

If until recently the Alliance focused more on its activities outside Europe, then due to the growing Russian military threat, the risk zone is shifting back to the European continent. The key Allies, the United States are forced to return foreign policy attention to Europe and restore their traditional role as guarantors of European security.

The European Union is also simultaneously strengthening its own security component and developing cooperation with NATO. The year of 2016 turned out to be the year of the revision of the EU’s partnership with NATO. During the NATO Summit in Warsaw, senior officials of the two organizations signed a Joint Declaration calling for “new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership” (Joint Declaration, 2016).

The Warsaw NATO-EU Declaration of 2016 identified seven priority areas for cooperation (hybrid threats, operational cooperation, cyber security, defence capabilities, defence industry and research, coordination on exercises, capacity building in defence and security) and two implementation blocks.

The first block of 42 events was published in December 2016, and the second block of 32 events a year later.

Countering hybrid threats is one of the main priorities of the EU-NATO cooperation agenda. Both organizations have already established inter-institutional contacts aimed at studying hybrid threats and exchanging relevant information, such as cooperation between the EU Hybrid Fusion Cell, NATO Hybrid Analysis Branch, and NATO centres of excellence in the Baltic states. This cooperation was later institutionalized through the establishment of the European centre of excellence for combating hybrid threats in Helsinki in 2017. This case is interesting because this organization is not a structural part of the EU or NATO, but was founded and is funded by the member countries of the two organizations (Myronova, 2018).

For its part, the Alliance is preparing for defence in the event of a potential military or hybrid attack by Russia on the Baltic states. It is within the framework of the strategic concept of restraint and defence that a program has emerged to strengthen the Alliance’s advanced presence in the east and south. Four multinational battalions, deployed in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland under the leadership of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Germany, demonstrate transatlantic unity and affirm the principle of collective defence.

There is a growing awareness that, along with the challenges and threats to the Baltic states and Northern Europe, the risks to the Black Sea region have risen sharply and continue to rise. If until recently it was possible to speak of the Black Sea as a predominantly internal space of NATO, included in its area of responsibility, today the paradigm of perception is changing to prevent the transformation of the Black Sea into the “Russian Intercontinental Sea”.

NATO’s current strategic priorities are deterrence and defence (Warsaw Summit Communique, 2016), as well as the expansion of stability and enhancement of security outside the Alliance, which increases the importance of NATO’s relations with Partner countries on the eastern and southern flanks. The Alliance continues to implement a program of measures to assist these countries in building stronger defence institutions and training their own capable armed forces.

International coordination is needed to effectively counter hybrid threats. That is why Russia’s goal is to weaken international cooperation as much as possible, to create resistance to multilateral institutional cooperation. The EU and NATO countries alone are weak, but together they are stronger. European societies must learn to effectively counter and prevent attempts of internal destabilization. International coordination must address the issue of appropriate training of journalists, opinion leaders, and government employees in such a way that they must learn to distinguish between truth and falsehood, to understand the situation professionally so that borders and language environment do not give rise to prejudice.

Analysis of the current situation in the world geopolitical arena shows a further increase in Moscow’s activities in the direction of destroying the security system built over decades by conducting special operations of both military and hybrid (information, political, security) nature. It is possible to effectively counter these effects only in case of transition from reactive to proactive approaches to counteracting hybrid threats. As Russia’s revisionist policy aims to weaken the West, the democracies of the transatlantic region must unite to formulate a common response, which must certainly include a military component.

International coordination in response to hybrid threats should also cover areas of competence such as economics, finance, society, media, cyberspace, diplomacy, and so on. Hybrid warfare in the wider European context creates the preconditions for full-scale conventional warfare. Risks to Euro-Atlantic security continue to grow after 2014. Therefore, accurate assessment of hybrid threats becomes vital to a peaceful future.

Problems in the security and defense sector

Over the last decade, there have been significant changes in the security environment of Eastern Europe, primarily due to the active destabilizing policy of the Russian Federation towards neighbouring states, armed aggression and violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine (temporary occupation by the Russian Federation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol and military aggression in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts). The aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has shown that despite the intensive use of many different non-violent means (political and diplomatic, economic, informational, etc.), the main role belongs to the ones through the use of force, especially military and special.

The task of counteracting a wide range of these military and special means inherent in Russian hybrid aggression has necessitated the creation of a qualitatively new form of the Ukrainian defence forces management system combining the efforts of its military forces, law enforcement agencies and special services.

The assessment of the state of military security of the country carried out within the framework of the comprehensive review of the security and defence sector of Ukraine revealed a number problems in the management system of the defence forces of Ukraine:

  • lack of joint leadership of the defence forces, in accordance with the principles and standards adopted by NATO member states;
  • lack of a clear division of responsibilities for the formation and use of the defence forces, which negatively affects the ability of the state leadership to effectively manage the defence sector;
  • low efficiency of the system of operational (combat) control, communication, intelligence and surveillance;
  • redundancy and irrelevance of the regulatory framework in the field of defence;
  • lack of an automated logistics management system;
  • incomplete process of building an effective resource management system in crisis situations that threaten national security;
  • imperfect system of planning and joint use of troops (forces) and means, their training and support;
  • imperfect and ineffective cooperation between central and local authorities, primarily on issues of preventing and combating terrorism;
  • insufficient effectiveness of the coordinators of activities of the security and defence sector of Ukraine in counteracting cyber threats of military, intelligence, criminal, terrorist and other nature.

In addition, the experience of using the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the anti-terrorist operation (joint forces operation) indicates the presence of a number of problems in the organization of management and functioning of the interdepartmental group of troops (forces). This is primarily due to the fact that the management system of the state defence forces, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine, does not sufficiently meet the peculiarities of their use in modern military conflicts, trends in armed struggle development, including forms and methods of hybrid warfare and not fully provides the maximum realization of their potential combat capabilities.

Given these problems, the management system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine must meet the conditions of the latest conflict, especially with signs of hybrid warfare, and its reform should strengthen the capabilities of the defence forces, increase their readiness to perform assigned tasks and participate in joint combat operations with NATO units.

At present, the Russian Federation continues to wage a hybrid warfare against Ukraine, which is a combination of various dynamic actions of controlled illegal armed groups and regular forces of the Russian Federation, which interact with criminal armed groups and criminal elements, actively use propaganda, sabotage, intentional harm, perform terrorist acts, targeted informational (informational and psychological) and cybernetic influences (attacks).

These activities are fully in line with the views of leading experts on the methods of conducting a hybrid warfare, namely: the use of irregular groups, the commission of terrorist acts, including violence and coercion, as well as the creation of criminal disorder. These multimodal actions can be performed by separate formations or single formation, operatively and tactically controlled and coordinated within the main combat space to achieve synergetic effects.

Main features and conditions of hybrid warfare

Analysis of the views of leading military scientists and real events around Ukraine makes it possible to outline its main features and conditions of hybrid warfare:

  • existence of a single centre that plans, organizes and controls the conduct of confrontation in all areas;
  • combination of conventional and unconventional military operations and a wide range of participants in the war (armed forces, terrorists, mercenaries, guerrillas, militias, gangs, special forces, with no responsibility of any state, as well as journalists, diplomats, economists, etc.);
  • focus on the struggle for the consciousness of the people, i. e. the information struggle, where the main subjects are presented by not military, but civilian ones such as the media, television, the Internet, other mass media;
  • confrontation in all spheres of human life, society and the state.

Characteristic features of hybrid warfare are:

  • active use of special operations forces, intelligence forces, military unconventional unit;
  • involvement or use for the purposes of the aggressor state of individuals, groups, organizations and parties, their capabilities, through overt and / or covert manipulation of their views and beliefs;
  • deployment and initiation of a broad information war for the psychological and ideological training of own population, population and personnel of the armed forces of the country against which a hybrid war is prepared and waged, the world community in order to mislead about the true intentions of the aggressor;
  • creation of separatist movements in a state that is the object of a hybrid warfare on political, ethnic, or religious grounds;
  • penetration of intelligence into all spheres of activities of the victim state (both military and state), deployment of a wide network of agents, bribery of civil servants and individual politicians;
  • impact on the financial system, energy system, industrial facilities (especially the military and industrial complex) to destabilize and stop their development;
  • trade wars conduct by stopping transit, imposing increased duties or banning the import of goods and preventing them from entering their markets from the state the hybrid warfare is planned with;
  • proliferation of weapons and ammunition in areas with separatist sentiments;
  • creation or use of a favourable political situation, during which it is possible to start covert hostilities and capture part of the territory of a neighbouring state with the least losses;
  • centralized management of the actions of the armed forces, special operations forces, illegal armed groups, separatists, terrorists, militants, sabotage and reconnaissance groups;
  • organization of a plebiscite or referendum in the areas planned for the seizure to justify ethnic aggression with the pseudo-purpose of protecting the interests of certain groups of the population (of another nationality or religion);
  • blocking or disrupting communications;
  • creation of a threat to the use of armed forces and capturing certain areas of the state;
  • export from the occupied (controlled) territory of material values, raw materials and energy carriers;
  • establishment of public administration bodies under the control of the aggressor state in the occupied territory;
  • use of political, diplomatic, economic, informational, confessional and other non-military potential of the aggressor country in all spheres of human life, society and the country being the victim of aggression (Antonenko, 2017: 10-16).

According to the military analyst, theorist F. Hoffman (Hoffman, 2007) the tendency to convergence in modern conflicts, which is manifested in the rapprochement and mutual penetration (combination) of the above-mentioned aspects of war is a fundamentally new characteristic of modern armed conflicts. Convergence, which encompasses regular military and proxy groups, blurs the boundaries between governmental and non-governmental actors of armed hostilities as well as their unequal military capabilities. This tendency changes the forms (modalities) of warfare and the traditional categorical distinctions between terrorism, conventional hostilities, crime, and irregular wars lose their practical significance.

In view of the above, it can be concluded that the operational environment of hybrid warfare is a set of closely related areas of confrontation: military, economic, social, informational, diplomatic, trade, scientific and technical, and so on. Given that the state-subject of a hybrid warfare is conducting it from a single centre and the actions in all areas of confrontation are subject to a single goal, the counteraction of the state-object must be equally centralized in all areas.

Thus, a management system must be created to counter the hybrid warfare capable of managing heterogeneous (multi-departmental) forces and means in all areas mentioned above.

Ensuring global and regional stability becomes impossible without increasing the military security of the state, maintaining the state of the country’s defence capabilities, which ensure the prevention of armed conflicts and stopping of possible military aggression. Thus, there is an urgent need for many states to reform and develop the entire security and defence sector in order to increase its readiness to counter modern dangers and threats (Kosevtsov, 2020).

Reforming the national security system

A number of strategic and program documents have been updated namely in view of the qualitatively new conditions of the hybrid warfare and in order to increase the efficiency of the management of Ukraine’s defence forces under the new conditions. Thus, the Decrees of the President of Ukraine approved the Strategy of National Security of Ukraine, the Strategy of Military Security of Ukraine, the Concept of Development of the Security and Defence Sector of Ukraine, the Strategic Defence Bulletin. These conceptual documents contain basic provisions for the reform of the national security and defence sector, aimed at forming its new quality, including a defence component adequate to hybrid threats.

The main direction of achieving this quality is to increase the efficiency of defence forces management.

According to the Concept of Development of the Security and Defence Sector of Ukraine the improvement of public administration of the security and defence sector, timely detection of threats to the national security of Ukraine provides:

  • to create the Joint Operational Headquarters as a governing body of multiservice and interdepartmental groups of troops (forces);
  • to improve the Unified Automated Management System of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to work in the Unified Management System of the Security and Defence Sector;
  • to increase the level of strategic management in the field of national security by creating a network of situation centres that will interact with each other and with the Main Situation Centre of Ukraine.

Ukraine is carrying out a strategic revision of the concept of defence, taking into account the experience of overcoming the current crisis, the introduction of new methods of defence management, based on Euro-Atlantic experience and a single criterion that is high efficiency at affordable costs. At the same time, it is envisaged to create an effective mechanism for the formation and implementation of state policy on the issues of military security, military and political, administrative and direct military leadership of the defence forces.

The key tasks of creating conditions for the restoration of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state are:

  • comprehensive reform of the national security system to a level acceptable for EU and NATO membership;
  • creation of an effective security and defence sector that provides sufficient national defence capabilities to repel armed aggression;
  • creation of the Armed Forces meeting Western standards and compatible with the armed forces of NATO member countries.

It is planned to establish a national operations management centre, which will operate on a continuous basis, staffed with highly qualified personnel on a rotating basis from various ministries, other public and military authorities, able to organize and monitor the implementation of decisions.

In the short term, the main efforts will be aimed at ensuring comprehensive systemic changes in the organization and functioning of Ukraine’s defence forces, primarily:

  • strategic rethinking of the concept of Ukraine’s defence, taking into account the experience of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the introduction of new methods of defence management, based on Euro-Atlantic experience and based on a single criterion that is high efficiency at reasonable costs;
  • improving the legal framework on military security and defence, developing an effective mechanism for responding to crisis situations, developing a management system in operations and hostilities, decentralizing decision-making;
  • clarifying the role and tasks of the defence forces at the strategic, operational and tactical levels, gradual improvement of the organizational structures of the defence forces of Ukraine, optimization of the personnel strength, the number of weapons and military equipment;
  • achieving interoperability of the components of Ukraine’s defence forces, a systematic transition to NATO standards (STANAG) in the organization, armament and training of troops (forces), as well as in the system of operational decision-making;
  • organizing joint training of defence forces to perform the tasks assigned to them, reviewing approaches to training and education of personnel;
  • restoring serviceability and extending service life, modernizing, creating new systems and unification of samples of the armament, military equipment and special equipment;
  • revising the concept of budget planning and resource provision system, radical improvement of combat operations.

Additional measures will be introduced to ensure proper defence capabilities of the state upon the solution of priority problems, repulse of armed aggression and completion of the anti-terrorist operation, under favourable conditions of the international situation, military and political situation as well as availability of appropriate resources.

The concept of development of the security and defence sector of Ukraine provides for the coordination of concepts, strategies and programs of reform and development of the components of the security and defence sector and the military industrial complex.

A systematic analysis of the features of other measures to achieve strategic and operational goals in accordance with the Matrix for achieving strategic goals and fulfilling the main tasks of defence reform shows that scientific substantiation of the content, forms and methods of functioning of the Armed Forces Management System and development of methods for assessing the compliance of the management system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the conditions of hybrid warfare is an extremely important scientific task. First of all, this is due to the need to objectively diagnose the degree of compliance of the management and decision-making system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the conditions of hybrid warfare and the lack of scientifically sound research tools, methods of assessing compliance with the Armed Forces management system, a balanced system of indicators, criteria and indicators assessing the compliance with the conditions of hybrid warfare.

Thus, the change in the nature of the current armed conflict and the hybrid aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine have created an impetus to accelerate transformations and structural changes in the security and defence sector of Ukraine.

One of the priority areas of defence reform is the reengineering (modernization) of the management system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to bring it into line with the conditions of modern military conflicts.

The creation and full functioning of the Armed Forces management system that would meet the conditions of modern military conflict is almost impossible without a scientific analysis of the conditions of hybrid warfare and objective diagnosis of the existing management system under the conditions of the Joint Forces operation.

The importance of an objective scientific approach to the creation of the Armed Forces management system is due to the critically high cost of management mistakes at the strategic level and the lack of time and resources for experiments.


The following conclusions and recommendations are the result of the analysis conducted by the authors of this article. They cover various aspects of the application of hybrid methods of warfare and destabilization of society in political, military, information, cyber security and building tolerance spheres, especially of the Ukrainian society.

Some findings relate to enhanced engagement with allies and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally, including NATO. It is often noted that combating hybrid threats is first and foremost a national task. Such an opinion has a right to exist, but international cooperation, both bilaterally and at European or even transatlantic level, provides additional tools, opportunities and impetus in combating and preventing hybrid threats.

The North Atlantic Alliance, like Ukraine, remains a priority target for Russian information operations. Among other things, the image of the enemy is being formed in NATO’s neighbouring countries, so it is necessary to jointly organize counteraction to such operations, as well as to promote a positive image and raise public awareness of NATO’s activities, principles and values.

It is necessary to establish and ensure the functioning of an international expert network (potentially based on the Ukraine-NATO platform) designed to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter hybrid aggression.

It is essential to introduce monitoring of the security situation in certain regions of Europe in the framework of the formation of specific security indices and, based on them, develop a system of early warning and neutralization of certain destabilizing trends in regions that could be a source of Russian hybrid aggression.

It is critical to ensure continued monitoring of the security situation in the Black and Azov Seas, including the prevention of military incidents and tensions, and to establish a specialized forum for the Navy (using the experience and model of the Venice Forum) to discuss developments and risks within the region.

It is required to develop a comprehensive and universal forecasting model based on the example of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which would help identify methods for preventing hybrid acts of aggression at various stages to shape the security policy of states on “frozen” or potential conflict situations.

It is necessary to incorporate elements of hybrid aggression into all military training scenarios, both national and international, and for all branches and service arms, as well as other emergency services and agencies.

It is important for Ukraine to resume the activities of the Intelligence Committee, which should become the main body that coordinates the activities of intelligence services, planning intelligence operations, and providing recommendations to the National Security and Defence Council on responding to “hybrid” threats.

With successful reforms for Alliance membership and a consensus in NATO, Ukraine can become a powerful ally with significant military capabilities and invaluable practical experience, including in the field of combating hybrid threats.

A further direction of work will be the development of methods for assessing compliance that does not allow to assess and predict the results of decisions to improve management and decision-making systems, as well as identify new tasks in accordance with the capabilities and use of forces and means of security and defence in a special period within a single system of military security strategy of Ukraine, which requires appropriate scientific and methodological support.

About the authors:

Artem Bratko.In 2016 he received a degree Ph. D. in Military Sciences. One of the main areas ofresearch is the study threats in military and political activities, to find new forms and methods ofensuring national security. He has more than 30 scientific publications in National security(Border Guarding Sphere) and management in military activity. His position as a associate professor of the general military disciplines department, National academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. E-mail: bratkoav84@gmail.com ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5503-3318

Denys Zaharchuk. Engaged in the study of questions that ensure the protection of the state border at sea. He has scientific publications and textbooks. In 2018 he received a degree Ph. D. in Military Sciences. His position as a associate professor of the border guard service department, National academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. E-mail: den_zachar@i.ua ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6051-305x

Valentyn Zolka. Retired in 2017 from his position as a associate professor of the National academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. Doctor of Legal Sciences. He studies the issues of legal support of state border protection units. He has scientific publications and textbooks about legal bases in law enforcement agencies. His position as a senior researcher at the research center of the National academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine named after Bohdan Khmelnytskyi. E-mail: zolka@i.ua ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7815-6393


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