Col (ret) Christopher Holshek

Resilient Civilians in Hybrid War Best Practices Handbook

As of: 14 December 2018

General. The handbook on civilian resilience in hybrid war is a major deliverable of WP7 (Civil-Military Tools and Technologies) of the ResilientCivilians project. In cooperation with the NATO CIMIC Centre of Excellence (CCoE) and the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (CivHybrid), the handbook will identify and assess current and emerging NATO civil-military capacities to build resilience in NATO and partner countries related to the Civil-Military Multi-actor Security & Resilience (CMSR) model. This includes identification of current civil-military policy and operational frameworks, training and education packages, technologies, and studies that can effectively apply to hybrid scenarios, and recommended developments of those that fill critical gaps identified by the CivHybrid project. Key findings and recommendations will refer to current and emerging NATO, member state, and appropriate partner policies, doctrines, organizations, training, technological materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities (DOTMLPF-P).

Purpose. The overall purpose will be to help develop a community of stakeholders around a virtual platform that establishes and perpetuates a learning network to enable continous adaptive learning and information-sharing in response to evolving threats as well as opportunities. Specifically, the handbook will help users:

  • Understand how civilian resilience in hybrid conflict environments impacts NATO and partner civil-military interests, missions, and objectives
  • Provide guidelines and methodologies on assessment and analysis of vulnerabilities and threats as well as strengths and opportunities for strategic and operational decision-making, planning, coordination, and implementation of operations and activities to counter hybrid threats through the promotion of civilian resilience
  • Identify DOTMLPF-P resources, both internal and external to NATO, to build NATO civil-military capacities and capabilities, to promote civilian resilience and civil preparedness in hybrid environments.

Scope. This handbook would apply to policymakers, coordinating staff at strategic and operational levels, and operators and implementers at operational and tactical levels.


Format. The handbook will exist only as a webpage hosted by either the CCoE, Hybrid CoE, or both, per the format currently under CCoE development. In addition to posting and updating the content outlined below, this virtual platform will feature a blog for users to contact chapter authors and other subject matter experts to obtain advice and information.

Outline. The handbook webpage will be organized mainly around the three objectives above. It will contain chapters written by the ResilientCivilians project team and invited subject matter experts to meet the purposes of the handbook. The chapters written by the ResilientCivilians project team will be summarized versions of their research papers (no more than 3-4,000 words).

  • About – Purpose and Scope
  • Understanding Civilian Resilience in Hybrid Conflict
    • Matti Saarelainen with Hanna Smith – contribute to conceptualization of hybrid threats/warfare
    • Sten Rynning – NATO Policy
    • Cedric DeConing – Resilience and complexity
    • Christopher Holshek – Narratives of citizenship and community service in societal resilience
  • Assessment and Analysis
    • Sebastion Rietjens – Detecting hybrid threats
    • Jane Freedman – Case study chapter
      • Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv – Civilian agency model (w/ deConing?)
      • Sergei Glebov – Ukraine
    • Patrick Cullen, Holger Pötzsch
  • Resources
    • Research
    • Analysis
    • Education and Training
      • Resident
      • Online
    • Additional best practices and resources
  • Contacts



  • March 2019 – Completion of table of contents, identification of chapters/authors and delivery of preliminary abstracts to be discussed at the ISA conference in Toronto.
  • June 2020 – Draft webpage and chapters; identification of further resources
  • December 2020 – Final chapter and other content edits
  • January/February 2021 – Handbook webpage launch