To analyze the transformation of contemporary conflicts, it is important that Clausewitz divided wars into total and limited not by the criterion of the scale of military actions, occupied territories or the number of dead, but by what should be understood as “victory”, which is its measure, the ultimate goal. In this context, the ultimate goal of a limited war is to force the adversary to a favorable compromise, and the goal of a total war is to destroy the adversary as a political entity. In the first case, the measure of victory is the conclusion of a deal that is more advantageous for the winner and less successful for the defeated, in the second - the surrender of the enemy.
In military conflicts of the end of the 20th century - the beginning of the 21st century, the logic of limited wars, whose character is determined by the factors of geopolitical rivalry, is quite clearly visible, while ideological categories are a thing of the past.
Wars do not affect the territories of great powers and are conducted in remote theaters. Limiting the nature and extent of hostilities makes it possible to achieve war goals by relatively small contingents of professionals: special operations forces, private military companies, air force and navy groups. To obtain asymmetric superiority, the parties to the conflict simultaneously use both the forms and methods of traditional war and the methods of fighting irregular formations - rebels, groups of international terrorists.
At the same time, non-violent methods of struggle are widely used: information and psychological impact, cyber attacks, economic sanctions. All this happens while the decisive role of the power factor, including the threat of the use of nuclear power, is retained in the strategic planning of the great powers. weapons.
FOCUSING, SCALE AND SPEED
The classification of military conflicts in accordance with the governing documents of the United States includes universal (global) and limited war. Global war is a war between major powers, the outcome of which determines their existence. A limited war is fought in theaters, usually between two countries, and this type includes a wide range of campaigns and operations that the United States conducts in various parts of the world.
It should be noted that a nuclear conflict is not the goal of any of the countries possessing or seeking to possess nuclear weapons. However, complicating and worsening relations between states can lead to accidental and even local conflicts, the scope and consequences of which may be different. So, recently there was information about the possibility of an escalation of a limited war to a nuclear level. President of the 10 Conference of the Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Disasters Vyacheslav Kantor in October of this year. He said that "today, in the rhetoric of the military, which are connected with the highest political circles in a number of countries, they speak about the possibility of developing the concept of limited strategic nuclear war."
Thus, the goals laid by Clausewitz in the basis of the classification of conflicts of the nineteenth century can change significantly. Apparently, the ultimate goal of a limited strategic nuclear war will not be to force the adversary to a favorable compromise, but to destroy it as a political entity.
Americans confront military conflicts in three groups: interstate, hybrid, and conflicts involving non-state armed groups.
Hybrid warfare, which is an action in a period that is not purely related to war or peace, was included in the classification at the beginning of the 21st century.
Today, hybrid wars are being actively introduced by the United States and NATO countries into the practice of international relations as a new type of interstate confrontation, which has not yet received an international legal definition. However, the indeterminate status of a hybrid war does not prevent some of its ideologists (for example, F. Hoffman and D. Mattis) to call the 21st century the era of hybrid wars.
The erasing of the boundaries between the state of war and peace, characteristic of a hybrid war, creates a high degree of uncertainty in the perception of peacetime, when the state is not formally attacked by hostile forces, but its national security and sovereignty are threatened.
It can be foreseen that future wars will be complex in form, multivariate, and not simple conflicts with a clear separation of sides. Challenges and threats become complex, complex, the pace of their implementation accelerates, the combination of force and non-force actions leads to an increase in the degree of their destructive impact on the enemy and ultimately strengthens the lethal nature of conflicts. The emergence of conflicts of this type was predicted by the outstanding Russian military theorists of the twentieth century, Alexander Svechin, Andrei Snesarev, Yevgeny Messner.
Conflict transformation actualizes the threats of a new generation — hybrid threats that are mixed in nature and used by opponents to achieve an asymmetrical superiority in limited wars.
Hybrid threats are a combination of diplomatic, military, economic, and information-technological methods of influence that can be used by a state or non-state actor to achieve special goals, without reaching the formal declaration of war.
Unlike ordinary threats, hybrid threats combine regular and irregular opportunities and allow them to concentrate on the necessary directions and objects to create the effect of strategic surprise. For this purpose, adaptive processes for implementing hybrid threats are provided for the purposeful and accelerated transformation of potential destructive factors of hybrid war into real ones by the aggressor.
In the United States and NATO, comprehensive research is being conducted on a wide range of issues, covering the transformation of contemporary conflicts and the preparation of states and armed forces for action in new military-political conditions.
The strategy of an asymmetric war between the state and various irregular forces, already implemented by the Pentagon in Syria and Iraq, is characterized by the use of double standards in relation to the current group of international terrorists. The Americans, dividing the terrorists into “good” and “bad”, actually imitate the fight against the militants, creating all the conditions for the IS (a banned organization in Russia) to continue the fight with the legitimate government. As a result, today the Americans have become the main obstacle to the actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian troops in the final defeat of the IS.
In a number of publications, "NVO" noted the practical steps of our geopolitical rivals to develop aggressive, offensive hybrid strategies, aimed primarily against Russia, China, Iran, and also intended for use in other parts of the world.
In recent years, the European Union has been actively involved in developing strategies for hybrid warfare.
Hybrid threats play a systemic role in the development of the US, NATO and the EU multi-alternative plans for the preparation and use of national and joint forces.
In the era of hybrid conflicts, the determining strategic factor is the need to find a balance between the features of modern war and the established canonical, traditional approaches to the assessment of challenges and threats and their influence on the planning of military operations.
At the same time, the goal of finding a balance in strategic defense forecasting and planning is quite pragmatic and boils down to finding answers to a number of questions, including the definition of resources for carrying out current operations and the creation of the necessary reserve for the future, as well as a possible balance between forces and means intended for parrying traditional and non-traditional threats to national / coalition security (counter-insurgency, international terrorism, etc.). Numerous and multivariate hybrid warfare regimes require careful management of resources and reasonable balancing of risks in order to avoid strategic overvoltage.
In the concept of NATO's Strategic Command, hybrid threats are defined as the threats posed by an adversary capable of both adaptively using traditional and non-traditional means to achieve their own goals.
The range of hybrid threats includes the implementation of scenarios that include low-intensity conflicts, up to limited strategic nuclear war, economic sanctions, information and cyber war, using in their own interests support for separatist and liberation movements, international terrorism, piracy, transnational organized crime, local ethnic and religious conflicts.
The emergence of the concept of limited strategic nuclear war will increase the potential danger of a hybrid war transitioning into a stage of high-intensity conflict and expanding it to the global scale. The likelihood of such a development today is particularly high in the confrontation between the United States and the DPRK.
The conceptual model of hybrid warfare developed in the West reflects the important provisions of the strategic forecasting documents of hybrid threats and the planning of joint actions to neutralize them by the combined efforts of the United States, NATO and the European Union.
When developing models of contemporary conflicts in Washington and Brussels, the issues of choosing are not simply between preparing low and high intensity operations, but building the capacity to respond to both variants of conflict development, in each of which, under conditions of uncertainty and limited resources, opponents will be more motivated, decisively and hard-minded state and non-state actors than those with whom we had to deal in the recent past.
At the same time, in the US, the positions of the military are quite strong - traditionalists, who still believe that talking about the transformation of contemporary conflicts only distracts from preparing for future conflicts, from the main battle with the as yet unknown, but equal in strength adversary. Supporters of the traditional approach oppose the reorientation of forces, especially ground forces, from their traditional purpose, which consists in participating in large-scale wars of the industrial age against states or alliances.
At the same time, the US Army Field Charter 3-0 “Operations” formally establishes a more balanced position, according to which the army must prepare its units to use the full range of operations as precautionary measures, which ensures a balanced, flexible response. These full-scale operations underline the importance of forces that can be flexible and quickly adapt to situations that can fight and win in battle with both terrorist organizations and modern armed forces of the hostile army.
As part of the hybrid war concept, some US military analysts suggest that future forms of conflict will have mixed forms of warfare. In their opinion, a unique combination of threats targeting the narrow and vulnerable places of the opposing state is used in hybrid wars, and all forms of war, including criminal behavior, are used simultaneously to implement them.
In 2016, the Pentagon’s Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) analytic group developed the Guide to Russian Wars of the New Generation. The ambitious task outlined in the preamble was to systematically describe hybrid wars as “wars of a new generation”, the Russian Armed Forces of the current decade, to reveal the achieved level and tendencies in the development of doctrinal views, strategy, operational art and tactics, weapons and military equipment.
However, military researchers did not succeed in the promised generalization of some revolutionary changes in enemy tactics, and the work as a whole did not add anything new to the development of the concept of wars of the 21st century.
For the past few years, NATO and the European Union have been trying to work together on the concept of hybrid wars and hybrid threats, although so far little is known about the practical results of research. In most cases, the hybrid war scarecrow is used by politicians and Western experts in ideologized politological discussions to accuse Russia of aggressive intentions.
HYBRID THREATS IN THE AGENDA OF NATO AND EU BEST EXPERIENCE CENTERS
Under the auspices of the NATO Strategic Transformation Command, 24 centers of excellence established over the past decade in a number of member countries of the alliance function. The centers carry out a practical study of a wide range of preparation for modern conflicts, including cyber operations, fighting terrorism, operations in cold and mountainous areas, a mine war at sea, energy security, problems of civil-military operations, etc.
Specifically, NATO’s three centers of excellence focus on developing hybrid warfare strategies and countering hybrid threats: on cyber threats in Estonia, on strategic communications in Latvia, and on energy security in Lithuania.
A peculiar chain of centers of excellence on hybrid issues on Russia's northern borders has recently been added to the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Hazards in Helsinki. The center aims to foster cooperation and coordination between the EU and NATO, compile intelligence information, develop methodologies, and conduct expert analysis and training to increase the ability to respond to hybrid threats. In the opening ceremony of the center 4 October this year. The top leaders of Finland, the EU and NATO took part.
The work of the centers is united by the common NATO-EU strategy, which regards hybrid threats as many different threats, a kind of mixture of military and non-military means of aggression; a combination of covert and overt operations and a wide range of measures, from propaganda and disinformation to the actual use of regular forces, actions in cyberspace or the conduct of subversive actions at the borders.
The centers are designed to improve the situational awareness of the leadership of NATO and the EU, that is, to improve the way of understanding what is happening, to provide an opportunity to draw up a forecast and a plan for further actions. It is believed that one of the main problems associated with hybrid threats is that the object of attack does not immediately understand what is under the influence of hostile forces. Often, such a delay in hazard assessment and response has tragic consequences for the object of hybrid aggression.
The threat of a hybrid war is considered to be of paramount in NATO, which led to the creation of a special department for analyzing hybrid threats within the Intelligence and Security Department, which will work closely with centers of excellence.
Thus, NATO and the EU seek to improve situational awareness by expanding the number of sources of intelligence, improving analysis procedures, exchanging and adequately interpreting intelligence information, to be able to foresee and understand the development of the situation and respond to hybrid threats in a timely manner.
An important step in the improvement of the NATO intelligence and information component was the commissioning of the Air Ground Surveillance System (AGS), within which, at the Italian-American naval base in Sicily, the control complex of eight long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was deployed. Global Hawk actions. Today, strategic UAVs, together with the AWACS-NATO aircraft, are actively used for observation in south-eastern Ukraine and along the entire perimeter of the borders in the north, west and south of Russia.
Intelligence is being improved in line with other activities of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in preparation for new-generation wars. Among the steps taken in recent years:
- an increase to the 30 thous. Of the NATO Response Force and increase the efficiency of their use through the creation of a Joint High-Readiness Task Force of about 5 thous. People;
- the creation of a joint expeditionary force for high-intensity operations;
- In addition to the deployed four battle groups of the Alliance in the Baltic countries and Poland in October of this year. The deployment of the NATO 10 ground, air and naval forces in Romania has begun, where they will join the US military personnel already deployed in the country to 900;
- the continuation of air patrols by NATO aircraft in the Baltic States, Romania and Bulgaria;
- strengthening of permanent NATO naval forces;
- preparation of infrastructure in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic States for the early deployment of material resources and the creation of new military bases;
- Intensification of military exercises.
And finally, to adequately respond to the challenges of a complex security environment, the uncertainty of which gives hybrid threats, the goal is to improve the sustainability of the alliance and its strategic partnership with the EU. To this end, the ability of both international organizations to remain within the framework of the adopted models, established parameters and criteria for their activities is improved, as well as to return to its original position without destruction under the influence of destabilizing external and internal factors. An important place is given to ensuring the security of vulnerable infrastructure facilities, as well as ensuring energy, information and, which is today considered to be especially critical, cyber security.
An appropriate NATO strategy and a European Union plan, including 42 EU security activities, are aimed at ensuring resilience against hybrid threats.
The EU gives priority in its work to creating reliable tools to counter cyber attacks, to which business is threatened, - according to the European Commission, their number reached 4 thousand per day. To this end, the EU Cybersecurity Agency is being created.
In general, the United States, NATO and the EU are intensively preparing to participate in asymmetrical conflicts of modern times, including through the ability to form and use against the opponent hybrid threats in offensive operations. For defensive operations, the issues of countering traditional and irregular tactics, the applied technologies of decentralized planning and the use of hybrid forces and equipment in various combinations of them are being worked out.
Both in the offensive and in defense, the implementation of hybrid threats includes the use of simple and complex technologies in various innovative areas, covering information and cyberwar, the preparation and implementation of color revolutions, subversive actions in the administrative, political, socio-economic and cultural-ideological spheres.
Hybrid threats allow flexible adaptation of various warfare modes to the characteristics of the object of their use, including the use of standard and innovative weapons, irregular tactics and formations, the use of international terrorist groups and organized crime.
RUSSIAN PERCEPTION OF THREATS
The term “hybrid threats” is not used in official documents reflecting Russia's perception of the challenges, risks, dangers and threats of the modern world.
At the same time, the diversity and scale of the threats listed in the National Security Strategy of Russia 2015 of the Year, the Military Doctrine of the 2014 of the Year, and some other documents, their apparent focus against the vulnerabilities of our country, the combination of objectively existing and artificially created threats quite suggest a set of hybrid threats against the Russian Federation.
One of the most serious threats Russia faces is NATO expansion. Attempts are being made to give the alliance a global dimension, to draw the neutral states of Europe into NATO, to strengthen in the Balkans and the Middle East. Moreover, the intensification of NATO military preparations leads to an increasing role of the force factor in international relations, gives new impulses to the processes of militarization and the arms race.
A powerful source of various threats is Ukraine today, turned into a bridgehead of aggression and one of the main outposts of the West in a hybrid war against Russia. The Americans, having failed to build their military infrastructure in the Crimea, do not lose their enthusiasm and, ignoring the lessons learned, began building three naval facilities on the Black Sea coast of the country to use them for the purpose of organizing exercises. Achieving a complete US withdrawal from Ukraine is a task of strategic importance and will require considerable effort.
The transformation of Ukraine, carried out under the auspices of the United States and NATO, has in fact completed the creation of a cordon of frantic anti-Russian regimes from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The further continuation of the cordon to the south is ensured by warming up anti-Russian sentiments in Bulgaria and Romania while simultaneously increasing military preparations in these countries. Strengthening NATO's position in the Balkans extends the dimension of the anti-Russian belt to the shores of the Mediterranean. On the northern flank they are openly talking about quite ripe for Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic alliance. Thus, it is planned to create a cordon from the countries hostile to Russia from the Barents Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Along with the threat from the expansion of the alliance, which exists and has been developing for more than 20 years, in recent years threats to the potential of Russian nuclear deterrence have become threatening. They are associated with the creation of the US and NATO strategic missile defense, the deployment of missile defense elements in Romania and Poland and the development of the concept of rapid global strike based on non-nuclear high-precision weapons and ammunition for strikes from the sea and from space.
The buildup and modernization of offensive weapons, the creation and deployment of new types of weapons at the borders of Russia, weaken the system of global security, as well as the system of treaties and agreements in the field of arms control.
The threat is borne by the actions of our geopolitical opponents in preparing color revolutions in order to organize state coups in Russia and neighboring countries. Traditional and public diplomacy of Western countries uses information warfare technologies to weaken the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Russia, its allies and partners, located thousands of kilometers from the borders of our country. The member states of the CSTO, the EAEU, the CIS, the SCO and the BRICS are exposed to continuous information and economic disruptive effects. The goal is to wreak havoc and create a pretext for intervention and the establishment of pro-Western manipulated governments.
NEW VIEW OF CONFRONTATION
Within the network-centric concept of the hybrid war in Russia, cells have been created and temporarily mothballed, which are planned to be used when deploying operations of the color revolution in the capital and a number of other large cities. At the right time, the cells taken out of sleep will serve as a kind of “catalysts” —accelerators of destructive processes and will be used to organize terrorist acts, provoking acts of civil disobedience, and seize state institutions. There is a fairly extensive internal "recruiting base" for the mobilization deployment of militant contingents from among the representatives of nationalist, pseudo-religious organizations, radical opposition, organized criminal groups and some other groups.
A special threat to the security and unity of Russia comes from radical Islamist organizations, which, with the support of the West, are trying to create terrorist cells in certain areas of the country, are deploying militant training centers in neighboring states. The creation of such bridgeheads is facilitated by Washington’s actions in support of IS formations in Syria and the relocation of international terrorists to areas from which they can attempt to destabilize Russia.
A separate group of threats consists of measures of economic pressure and illegal economic sanctions against Russia and a number of friendly countries.
The threats associated with the intensification of international terrorism, uncontrolled and illegal migration, human trafficking, drug trafficking and other manifestations of transnational organized crime are becoming more acute.
The complex of hybrid threats is used by our geopolitical opponents to weaken and destabilize Russia, its allies and partners in the framework of fierce competition, increasingly embracing values and models of social development, human, scientific and technological potentials.
Hybrid wars are actually turning into a new type of interstate confrontation and, along with strategic nuclear deterrence, provide the adversaries of Russia with effective tools of strategic non-nuclear deterrence.
The use of controlled chaos technologies to influence the system of propaganda, psychological, informational, and other measures coordinated by the individual and the “sensitive points” (decision-making centers) of the administrative-state approach gives additional dynamics to the hybrid war strategy. political management, including the spheres of ensuring all types of security, socio-economic, cultural and ideological spheres.
In these conditions, an important place should be given to improving intelligence as a mining and analytical structure capable of carrying out systematic work to prevent the actions of the enemy, timely reveal threats and suggest ways to overcome them.
The threatening reality of new types of threats requires a cardinal improvement in Russia's ability to withstand and win in hybrid conflicts. Successful solution of this dual problem depends crucially on the unity of the Russian people, the power of the Armed Forces, reliable protection of borders, the new quality of government, the availability of a network of reliable allies and partners.