Christian Kongstad—an erstwhile graduate student at the Centre for Peace Studies (CPS)—elucidated the relevance of governance and social capital to a society’s vulnerability and susceptibility to hybrid threats in his dissertation. His research can be found here.

The 2019 International Studies Association (ISA) annual convention in Toronto, Canada was a chance for our research team to present and discuss the ResilientCivilians Project. Chaired by Dr. Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv, a roundtable discussion on Resilient Civilians in Hybrid/Population-Centric Warfare took place where all members of our project team were able to share their research abstracts.

The working title for our main paper is currently Insights from Resilience & Complexity for civilian societies at risk from hybrid warfare attacks. This work will outline hybrid warfare as we understand current understand it, with insights from complexity theory. It will introduce the concept of resilience and give recommendations and conclusions for civilian societies at risk from hybrid warfare attacks.

As a major deliverable of the ResilientCivilians project, an outline for our Resilient Civilians in Hybrid War Best Practices Handbook was presented by Christopher Holshek from the NATO Resilient Civilians Project.

Sergii Glebov of Odessa National University presented his yet untitled abstract on the human security issues and civilian agency exemplified in the case of Ukraine after 2013 as a demonstration of modern hybrid warfare.

For her part, Jane Freedman presented her contribution as being based on a case study in France where she will consider the ways in which issues such as immigration, and perceived ‘threats’ to French republicanism and secularism have been weaponized to create divisions within civilian populations, but also the ways in which civilian populations have shown resistance to these threats. She plans to discuss issues of gender and racialization in connection with these threats and the ways they are used or resisted. The contribution will also discuss the recent « Gilets Jaunes » movement and the various external and internal influences creating civilian conflict around the movement.

Sten Rynning, of the University of Southern Denmark, presented the introduction of his article, How NATO Got Itself Out of Depth in Crisis Management Operations. The article traces the multifaceted impact of the enduring legacy of Kosovo on NATO. The first section examines how NATO in the immediate post-Kosovo years, 1999-2005, entered a phase of strategic ambiguity but ultimately with a determination to take control of its political destiny. Thus began a new phase of grand ambition, 2006-2012, that promised to overcome the timidity of the Kosovo years and offer strategic strength, and it led NATO deep into Afghan governance. Climbing down or adjusting its sights came next for NATO, and the third and final section traces how a new strategic bargain, if such it is, emerged in NATO and enabled the Alliance’s inactivity as the Syrian war unfolded and expanded—ultimately to the detriment of the Alliance’s cohesion. The conclusion takes stock of what Kosovo and its aftermath in terms of strategic adjustment tells us about NATO and its ability to cohere at the political-military interface.

Professor Dr. Sebastiaan Rietjens of the Netherlands Defence Academy presented the abstract for his paper, Detecting Hybrid Threats: between theory and practice, that aims to contribute to the knowledge on the extent and how early warning systems are able to detect hybrid threats and thereby deliver an appropriate warning by creating a theoretical framework based on early warning as well as hybrid threat literature with the Netherlands as a case study.