Military Review

Intelligence in modern conflicts

Intelligence in modern conflictsIn the 21st century, there is a tendency to erase the differences between the state of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared, but when they begin, they do not follow our usual pattern. Asymmetric actions, which include the use of special operations forces, private military companies and internal opposition to create a permanent front throughout the territory of the opposing state, as well as informational influence, the forms and methods of which are constantly being improved, are widespread. All this is carried out against the background of economic pressure and is united by the concept of “hybrid war”.

The phenomenon of the hybrid war, which has become a new type of interstate confrontation and is becoming an effective political tool for strategic non-nuclear deterrence, is much talked about by the military and politicians.


The emergence of a hybrid war in the spectrum of contemporary conflicts has given impetus to changes and adaptation to the new military-political realities in the administrative-political, socio-economic, cultural and ideological spheres of many states.

The leadership of the United States and NATO “generously” gives Russia a palm in the development and practical application of the concept of hybrid warfare.

According to the military and politicians of the consolidated West, the implementation of such a concept turns Russia into a more dangerous threat than ever since the days of the Cold War.

However, this is not the case. A number of NBO publications have repeatedly underlined the politicized and sly attitude of the United States and NATO, where the theory of hybrid threats and hybrid warfare has been developed for many years, and theoretical “findings” are immediately introduced into the practice of subversive activities around the world. The accusations against Russia are used as a screen in the growing confrontation, in which the role of a connecting link from non-force technologies, mainly based on the use of "soft power" during the color revolution, is assigned to the technologies of "hard power" hybrid war.

The adaptive approach is based on the characteristics of the characteristics of the color revolution and hybrid warfare, which are characterized by continuity, interconnection and interdependence, the ability to remain unchanged while transforming the conflicts themselves.

The boundaries between the conflicts are rather vague. On the one hand, this ensures the continuity of the process of “overflowing” of one conflict to another and contributes to the flexible adaptation of political and military strategies used to the realities of political situations. On the other hand, a system of criteria has not yet been sufficiently developed to clearly define the basic characteristics of certain types of conflicts (primarily the “bundles” of the color revolution — the hybrid and conventional wars) in the transformation process. At the same time, conventional war is still the most dangerous form of conflict, especially in scale. However, conflicts of another kind are becoming more and more likely - with mixed methods of using force and non-force actions.

In this context, it is the hybrid war that integrates in its essence the whole range of means of confrontation - from the most modern and technological (cyber war and information confrontation) to the use of primitive in nature terrorist methods and tactical methods of warfare, coordinated according to a single plan and goals. to the destruction of the state, to undermine its economy, to destabilize the internal socio-political situation.

A hybrid war is multidimensional and includes many other subspaces in its space (military, informational, economic, political, socio-cultural, etc.). Each of the subspaces has its own structure, its own laws, terminology, development scenario.

The multidimensional nature of the hybrid war is due to an unprecedented combination of a set of measures of force and non-force impact on the enemy in real time. The diversity and different nature of the used subversive measures determines the property of a kind of “blurring” of the boundaries between the actions of regular forces and the irregular insurgent / guerrilla movement, the actions of mercenaries and terrorist groups, which are accompanied by outbursts of indiscriminate violence and criminal actions. The lack of clear criteria for hybrid actions in the chaotic nature of the synthesis of both their organization and the means used significantly complicates the task of forecasting and planning preparation for conflicts of this type.

Such properties determine a unique framework for using the concept of “hybrid war” in military research of past, present and future conflicts, in strategic forecasting and planning the development of the armed forces.


NATO became the first military-political organization to talk about the phenomenon of a hybrid war at the official level at the summit in Wales in 2014. There, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, raised the question of the need to prepare a military-political alliance to participate in new-type wars, the so-called hybrid wars, which include conducting a wide range of direct hostilities and covert operations carried out according to a single plan by armed forces, partisan (non-military) formations and also include the actions of various civilian components.

In order to improve the ability of the Allies to counter the new threat, it was proposed to establish coordination between the ministries of internal affairs, to attract police and gendarmerie forces to curb non-traditional threats associated with propaganda campaigns, cyber attacks and local separatists.

Subsequently, the alliance made the problem of hybrid threats and hybrid warfare one of the central ones on its agenda. The Final Document of the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016 listed specific “steps to ensure its ability to effectively meet the challenges of the hybrid war, in managing which state and non-state actors use a wide, complex range to achieve their goals closely interconnected conventional and non-traditional means, overt and covert military, militarized and civilian measures. In response to this challenge, we adopted a strategy and substantive plans regarding the role of NATO in countering a hybrid war. ”

In the strategy of NATO, an important place is given to the question of how to convince the governments of the ally countries of the need to use all the organizational possibilities to counter hybrid threats and not to try to act only based on high technology. In this context, the special role of intelligence, ground forces and modern technologies in a hybrid war is emphasized. At the same time, it is considered necessary to develop the potential for cooperation with non-military actors, to quickly build up civil-military relations, and to provide humanitarian assistance.

It is planned to use the format of a hybrid war for a kind of play to increase and decrease, the use of technologies of "soft and hard power" on the blurred border between peace and war. Such a set of tools and methods provides the aggressor state with unique tools to put pressure on the enemy. It is in this approach that the unique possibilities of using hybrid warfare in world politics as a tool for non-nuclear strategic deterrence lie.

One of the main objectives of the hybrid war is to keep the level of violence in the state - the object of aggression below the level of intervention of existing international security organizations such as the UN, OSCE or CSTO in the post-Soviet space. This, in turn, requires the development of new adaptive concepts and organizational structures to protect and respond to hybrid threats.

An important place in solving the complex tasks of ensuring modern conflicts is given to intelligence.


The meaning of intelligence at all times was reduced to an objective knowledge of the world, which can be obtained through the collection of information in a particular area. The main purpose of intelligence operations is to search for answers to several fundamental questions concerning the activities of a potential or incumbent adversary: ​​“who, when, where, and how”.

Intelligence in the confrontation of the state to the threats of a hybrid war and the color revolution requires the adaptation of forces and means, a different organization of actions, and is conducted in conditions that differ significantly from the conditions of traditional conflicts.

Formally, the laws and rules of war provide for sending an ultimatum to the enemy with notification of the opening of hostilities, which makes it possible to obtain initial information on the issues of "who" and "when."

However, no state expects the unconditional implementation of the order of declaring war and aims all types of intelligence at obtaining proactive information about the plans and intentions of the enemy, which they hid in every way before the outbreak of hostilities and during the war. Obtaining reliable and timely information about where and by what forces the enemy is planning and carrying out subversive operations in the preparation and conduct of a hybrid war and the color revolution is the most important task of intelligence.

The primary task of intelligence is to prevent the strategic suddenness of the impact of challenges, risks, hazards and threats (PSRI) on international and national security. In an analytical document, the US National Intelligence Strategy, it is noted that “... the factors and conditions that influence the state of US national security are changing in a complex and rapid manner. Foreign states, non-state actors, and various global phenomena continue to confront and threaten the national interests of the United States. At the same time, the listed objects and factors are considered as sources of danger, by which is understood the well-understood, but not fatal, probability of harming or harming the US national interests. And only when the danger takes the most specific, direct and targeted form, will it be considered a threat. ”

The Supreme Council of Ukraine is a key, strategic factor in the current NATO strategic concept, and the results of the analysis of the Supreme Council of Ukraine in the alliance’s doctrinal documents provide a scientific and practical basis for strategic forecasting and planning, addressing funding issues and organizing the military-political and military-technical components of the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks about preparing for conflicts of a new era: “NATO is developing a strategy to counter hybrid threats and actions in a hybrid war that encompasses a wide range of direct and indirect (secretive) military, paramilitary and civilian actions designed to destroy and confuse , damage or coerce. "

The dynamic and difficult to predict nature of threats serves as a catalyst for the processes of adaptation of intelligence services to the realities of the still little studied world of hybrid wars, hybrid threats and color revolutions.

In August, NATO launched a new division, the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD), in NATO, whose main tasks are to combat international terrorism, counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, prevent cyber attacks and ensure energy security. The formation of governance means that the focus of NATO is now on the global nature of the challenges and threats.

New impetus to NATO's preparation for the conduct of hybrid wars was given by the creation of the Joint Intelligence and Security Division (JISD) at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at 2017. One of the tasks of management is the integration of political and military intelligence in solving problems of monitoring and evaluating a wide range of challenges and threats, including ordinary military threats, hybrid threats, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber attacks, international terrorism. The management area is from Central Africa to North Korea, from the Arctic to the Middle East. The management employs around 270 military and civilian specialists.

The threat of a hybrid war is considered to be of paramount in NATO, which led to the creation of a special department for the analysis of hybrid threats within the Intelligence and Security Department. As part of a holistic approach, the department analyzes the full spectrum of hybrid threats with a special focus on cyber threats and international terrorism. Monitoring of terrorist threats in the management is a special group. A highly complex system of centers of excellence in various fields, the intelligence department in Molesworth (United Kingdom), as well as a number of committees (military, civil, security) representing the special services of NATO member states and partners interact with management.

The Security Bureau ensures the security of the staff and staff of the alliance, the protection of information.

Thus, the alliance improves and combines the capabilities of heterogeneous services in the framework of the implementation of a unified strategy to confront the hybrid challenges and threats of modern times.

NATO considers hybrid threats as a combination of signs of an imminent danger of damage to a state that is the object of aggression with an inaccurately defined content or severity, the possibility of which is impossible to parry.

In the concept of the Strategic Command of the Alliance, hybrid threats are defined as threats created by an adversary who can simultaneously adapt traditional and non-traditional means to achieve their own goals. The range of hybrid threats includes the implementation of scenarios of low intensity asymmetric conflicts, economic sanctions, information and cyber warfare, the use of support for separatist and liberation movements, international terrorism, piracy, transnational organized crime, local ethnic and religious conflicts in their interests.

The US and NATO governing documents devote important attention to the formation of regional and global bodies for managing the hybrid war, consolidating the potential of allies and partners. It is believed that at the strategic level, government should be able to cover the regions of responsibility of the European, Central and Pacific commands of the US Army. By nature, such bodies should also have a hybrid nature, be flexible and adaptable from the tactical to the strategic level, with appropriate personnel, communication and information exchange systems, and opportunities for interaction with partners. Their timely deployment will speed up the planning process and reduce the response time, given the extremely rapid development of the situation in a hybrid war. The personnel potential of special operations forces is attracted to the formation of the nucleus of such bodies. At the same time, taking into account the peculiarities of modern conflicts, necessary adjustments are made to the operational art and tactics, innovative methods of strategic planning and the use of the forces themselves are being developed.

The United States and NATO view hybrid warfare as an integrator of a complex of “hybrid threats”, the implementation of which is carried out within the framework of a flexible strategy with long-term goals. Based strategies for the integrated application of diplomatic, information, military and economic means to destabilize the enemy. Hybrid threats combine regular and irregular opportunities and allow them to concentrate on the right directions and objects to create the effect of strategic surprise.

Thus, unlike other types of threats, hybrid threats are focused strictly on the chosen target object (a specific target country and its vulnerabilities), have a well-defined format and a predetermined final goal and constitute the core of the strategic plan of the operation.

Hybrid threats have a number of characteristics that ensure effective use at all stages of contemporary conflicts. The “cumulative effect” of the impact of threats is ensured by the implementation of a system of complex and interdependent preparatory and executive measures related to the coordination of the activities of a significant number of participants operating in the territory of the target country and beyond. The success is facilitated by the skillful use of factors responsible for the high dynamics of the development of the situation and giving the processes the necessary direction using both non-military and military solutions.

The complex nature of hybrid threats complicates the task of revealing their source, which, as a rule, is anonymous. The anonymity of the source of hybrid threats and the uncertainty of the time and place of their manifestation during the hybrid war contribute to dispersal of reconnaissance efforts, divert forces and funds to secondary areas, lead to loss of time to develop countermeasures and, consequently, to an increase in damage.

The operations of the hybrid war and the color revolutions, with a fundamental difference between the two phenomena under certain conditions, can complement each other. So, at a certain stage of the hybrid war, the color revolution can be used as a kind of catalyst - an accelerator of events contributing to the weakening of power and disorganization of the state. An important task of intelligence is the timely opening of the preparation of the color revolution, the transition to the active phase of which forms a kind of “bifurcation point” in the strategy of the hybrid war and leads to strategically significant changes in the situation in the theater of war.

At the same time, the color revolution can be planned and carried out as an independent operation to overthrow the government. Subsequently, events develop within the framework of an algorithm for adaptive use of force, when peaceful demonstrations of the opposition gradually develop into tough confrontation with the authorities, up to the overthrow of the government and civil war.


The synergistic effect of the use of hybrid threats makes them particularly dangerous for the entire system of ensuring the national security of the country, which requires their timely opening by intelligence.

In the initial stages of a hybrid war, the aggressor state activates activities in subversion in the political, administrative, socio-economic, cultural and ideological spheres.

The scale and aggressiveness of information warfare operations and public diplomacy are increasing. Cyber ​​operations are being conducted against state and military government facilities, industrial infrastructure facilities. Additional contingents of troops are deployed at the borders of the target state, measures are being stepped up to prepare for the actions of irregular forces inside the state, the activities of special operations forces are being activated, military exercises are being held under provocative scenarios. The “fifth column” is consolidating.

In the process of predicting hybrid threats and planning countermeasures, it is advisable to use a special concept - “risk categories”, reflecting the likelihood of the emergence of hybrid threats in areas where they are practically absent at this time. Timely identification of such areas allows you to work ahead of the curve, focus your intelligence in time on studying changes in the situation and uncover the threat at its inception stage. At the same time, risk is a sign of potential danger of incurring damage of a certain severity and content, and the concept of “risk category” defines the level and possible consequences of hidden hybrid threats.

In a hybrid war and a color revolution, the risk category is associated with an open encroachment on the vital interests of the state and nation. Risk analysis, which takes many forms, is a significant factor in the development of intelligence operations in hybrid war and color revolution. Such analysis should become an integral part of the risk management system in the political and military sphere, in the sphere of ensuring national security.

For example, reputational risks should be considered extremely important for coalitions such as the CSTO and their individual members, as well as the CIS and the SCO, since the cohesion of participants is a success factor in countering hybrid warfare operations and color revolution technologies. From this it follows that the attitude of individual states and coalitions to risks will have a decisive influence on the timeliness of their opening and the organization of counteraction in contemporary conflicts.

Timely opening and correct interpretation of the intelligence of the hybrid threats allow the enemy to predict the choice of strategy for a hybrid war. The development of countermeasures should be based on the important role of external support in hybrid wars.

Common ways of countering hybrid wars are reduced to reliably cutting off the channels of financing subversive forces, using diplomatic means to isolate and punish sponsor states, targeting all types of intelligence to dissect and identify leaders and prepared training camps and warehouses as top targets of neutralization. Primary attention should be paid to improving territorial defense based on intelligence and counterintelligence data on enemy action plans.

Intelligence is also used to assess the damage from a hybrid war, when it is necessary to resort to comparing the economic and strategic importance of territories controlled by insurgents and government forces.

With the timely opening of plans for preparing a hybrid war to counter, an appropriate long-term military-political strategy is formed, a special national / coalition body is created to coordinate intelligence efforts at all levels, from strategic to tactical, and fundamental approaches are developed for the effective and covert use of special operations forces and high precision strikes weapons. The areas that can be covered by the hybrid war are carefully determined, all their characteristics are first studied.

The formation of a reliable and effective system of managing a new type of war is possible due to a serious restructuring of the system of state and military government bodies in order to give them the necessary “hybrid” properties, that is, the ability to respond within a wide range of diverse threats, increase efficiency and control flexibility. Attention should be paid to decision-making procedures for the use of military force, taking into account difficult-to-predict changes in the situation. For successful planning and interaction it is necessary to develop and harmonize terminology used at all stages of preparation and warfare.

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  1. aszzz888
    aszzz888 1 October 2017 06: 43
    The leadership of the United States and NATO "generously" gives Russia palm tree superiority in the development and practical application of the concept of hybrid warfare.

    ... this "palm", apparently the only thing they give us, for the dubious primacy ... bully
    1. ilimnoz
      ilimnoz 1 October 2017 07: 53
      Anglo-Saxons have been using this tactic for centuries, and before
    2. Crowe
      Crowe 1 October 2017 07: 57
      Quote: aszzz888
      this "palm", apparently the only thing they give us, for the dubious primacy ...

      And she was given, in order to gain an advantage in that very hybrid war.
  2. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 1 October 2017 08: 15
    Hybrid warfare

    The author "pleased" with truths from the open press. This is probably an essay on the topic ... or all the same, the conclusions of the author. The conclusions are based on the materials of the media with the addition of something of their own.
    due to a major restructuring of the system of state and military governing bodies in order to give them the necessary “hybrid” properties, that is, the ability to respond within a wide range of diverse threats, improve responsiveness and management
    And until the so-called. "hybrid wars" this has not been done? It seems that the author perceives the "hybrid war" from the perspective of some not-so-distant ukroglashtays.
    1. svp67
      svp67 1 October 2017 08: 58
      Quote: rotmistr60
      that the author perceives a "hybrid war"

      Like a kind of "sword of the treasure" capable of defeating everyone and everything. But in fact, this is simply a NEW round in the development of military confrontation. The main thing is to have time to take a position with "excess" over opponents and not be substituted.
    2. To be or not to be
      To be or not to be 1 October 2017 11: 29
      I did not understand the heading "Intelligence in modern conflicts"
      Where in the article about intelligence and especially about intelligence signs of hybrid wars .. ??
      Hybrid wars - the brainchild of the American during the conquest of America by the Indians. beads. poisoned blanket. bribery of individual leaders .. use of force .... Then 2014 Kiev - free pies laughing
  3. svp67
    svp67 1 October 2017 08: 56
    Interesting. One thing I’ll say, to scout out a LITTLE, we still have to UNDERSTAND what we learned and saw, and most importantly how it fits into the big picture. And this is VERY complicated and not many people know how to do it.
  4. gridasov
    gridasov 1 October 2017 09: 42
    The work of intelligence agencies is primarily based on science. Search and development of methods for analyzing big data and on this building models of the development of events at different levels of perspectives and directions, allows you to quickly and "predict" the aspects of the transformation of various situations .. Then you can develop the topic endlessly.
  5. ARES623
    ARES623 1 October 2017 10: 00
    A lot of words on the topic, and almost nothing. The water is wet, the sky is blue, and "Attention should be paid to decision-making procedures for the use of military force, taking into account difficult-to-predict changes in the situation." Precisely, the political worker wrote.
  6. gridasov
    gridasov 1 October 2017 10: 06
    Quote: svp67
    scout a LITTLE, it is necessary to UNDERSTAND what we learned and saw, and most importantly how it fits into the big picture. And this is VERY complicated and not many can do it

    This is the significance of intelligence analysis tools. The analysis of such subtle nuances and aspects of the analyzed process. that in the order of their development are determined by the algorithms for their development. New and constantly changing input variables also have their own clearly defined algorithms. Therefore, in the system of all these interactions, not only the overall picture of actions is determined, but also any component of this "performance". At the same time, from the slightest nuance of obvious events, one can construct a complex of such procedural events that are hidden from open access. The most important aspect is that the human brain when working with such techniques becomes more perfect in distinguishing between real and objective information and that which is distorted or augmented by reality.
  7. gridasov
    gridasov 1 October 2017 10: 27
    Quote: ARES623
    A lot of words on the topic, and almost nothing

    A developed person is able to distinguish where and what topics and at what level and with whom you can discuss or not. The forum sites are a testing ground that determines the ability of each participant, as it is modernly represented by the BOT of one or the level of intellectual abilities.
  8. vlad007
    vlad007 1 October 2017 12: 18
    Any intelligence includes in its methods and penetration into enemy control structures! Depending on the penetration level, it is possible not only to obtain information, but also to influence the activity of the enemy. It is important to timely determine this penetration and impact.
    "By their deeds you will know them." Gospel of Matthew (chapter 7, verse 13-29).
    1. gridasov
      gridasov 1 October 2017 13: 05
      Modern methods of analysis may allow not to carry out such processes. It is enough to know the potential of such organizations and the methods of their work in order to understand the intellectual composition of employees and the potential of their possible methods of work within the boundaries of the politically motivated environment that gives directions to their work. and which determines the level of competence of management to manage these organizations. Moreover, the potential is determined on the basis of a huge complex of information and the situation itself, which is determined by these structures of a particular country or coalition. And such information in the framework of modern information and accessible public technologies is absolutely open and accessible to everyone. For instance . take the same Chinese most modern fighter. Why waste energy accessing the parametric data of a new machine, if in appearance it is clear that standard technologies are used in absolutely everything. Or in other words, the plane does not go beyond the boundaries of those technological achievements that have long been known to everyone. And if they achieved any success in breakthrough scientific discoveries and embodied this in technology, then the obvious will become apparent very quickly .. But there is a complex of issues that even with such breakthroughs will not allow one country to have priority over another. . And these points need to be known and taken into account in the overall balance of the analysis. and conclusions. Therefore, intelligent technologies are changing both the methods and the basis on which such organizations will work. By the way, the Americans have already skipped the stage that was associated only with obtaining information. Their organizations have grown to enormous proportions, which has an extremely negative impact on their effective work. They themselves already understand this. Moreover, they know the solutions, but scientific achievements do not allow to be realized. There is no need to talk about other countries.