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30 octobre 2015 5 30 /10 /octobre /2015 17:50
Hybrid: what’s in a name?

Security analysts and practitioners have a tendency to coin new terms which capture the challenge(s) they are facing or the mandate(s) they are supposed to embrace. Terms such as ‘low-intensity conflicts’, ‘failed’ or ‘fragile’ states, ‘asymmetrical’ threats or even, for that matter, ‘comprehensive approach’ are all relevant examples. ‘Hybrid threats’ is, potentially, another case in point.

The concept of ‘hybrid threats’ is not new, nor is the idea that it conveys completely original – namely, the combination of conventional and unconventional methods of warfare so as to confuse an adversary. Russia’s hostile actions in Ukraine and the violence perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in several areas neighbouring Europe – and within Europe itself – are oft-cited examples of these hybrid threats. It could, however, also be argued that Western countries have resorted to these methods themselves, albeit without calling them ‘hybrid’, and that warfare itself has never been ‘pure’. But what is certain is that the European Union now considers itself a potential target of such threats and feels ill-prepared to respond.


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29 octobre 2015 4 29 /10 /octobre /2015 20:50
 Credit 'The European Union'

Credit 'The European Union'

28-29/10/2015 Brussels - Council of the EU

Main results

The European Union Military Committee met on 28-29 October in chiefs of defence (CHODs) format. Chiefs of defence discussed the EU global strategy, naval operations, training and advisory missions, Ukraine and cooperation with NATO.


"We had an important two day meeting. EU chiefs of defence are committed, engaged, and aware of the challenging international situation"

General de Rousiers, Chairman of the European Union  Military Committee


EU global strategy

Chiefs of defence were briefed by the EEAS Secretary General, Alain Le Roy, on EU Security and Defence matters. He touched upon the EU global strategy on foreign and security policy, the EEAS review. During the discussion some of the CHODs highlighted their activities within the coalition against Da'esh.


CSDP naval operations

The chiefs of defence discussed CSDP military operations and missions with a specific view to their planning and conduct, including force generation, capabilities, support by EDA, crisis cell. CHODs had then an overview of EU actions in the field of migration and an update on ongoing EU naval operations, most importantly EUNAVFOR Med - Operation Sophia and EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta. They had a discussion on the evolution of both missions. The issue of force generation was addressed as well, as a force generation conference for all of our operations including operation Sophia and Atalanta.


CSDP training and advisory missions

In a joint session with chiefs of defence from partner nations contributing to EU CSDP missions, namely Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, and Serbia, CHODs had an in depth discussion on the evolution of the EU training missions and EU military advisory missions in Mali, Central African Republic and Somalia. The Commission highlighted the progress achieved with regard to capacity building for security and development. The CHODs discussed the next steps for all of those missions.



The 28 EU CHODs had also an exchange of views with General Viktor Muzhenko, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, on the current situation in the country, with a specific eye on hybrid warfare. General Muzhenko notably highlighted the reorganisation of the Ukrainian armed forces, the needs, and provided his assessment of the situation on the ground.


Hybrid Warfare

Chiefs of defence had an in-depth discussion on hybrid warfare. The director of the intelligence centre (INTCEN) highlighted the board range of hybrid threats focusing mainly on Da'esh, Al-Shabab, Boko-Haram and other terrorist organisations. The CHODs recognised the need for collaboration, noting that intensive work is ongoing.


EU/NATO cooperation

The Chiefs of defence turned then to EU/NATO cooperation, including hybrid warfare, battlegroups certification, capabilities and the Single European Sky. In this context CHODs were briefed by US AFRICOM Commander, General David M. Rodriguez and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw. 

As General de Rousiers is due to leave office on 5 November 2015, he introduced and symbolically transferred authority as Chairman of the EUMC to the incoming Chairman General Michail Kostarakos.



Photos and videos of the event

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 07:50
Exploring hybrid threats


Brussels - 25 September, 2015 European Defence Agency


The European External Action Service (EEAS), in the framework of the Luxembourg Presidency and in cooperation with the European Military Staff and Crisis Management and Planning Directorate, organised a conference on Countering Hybrid Threats, held on 24 September 2015. Jorge Domecq, the European Defence Agency (EDA) Chief Executive was among the keynote speakers to present the EDA work and priorities regarding tackling hybrid threats. 


The opening remarks were delivered by HE Ambassador Stephan Müller, the Luxembourg Representative to the Political and Security Committee (PSC), whereas the keynote speeches were presented by Mr Maciej Popowski, the EEAS Deputy Secretary General, Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive, and a representative of the Space, Policy, Copernicus and Defence Diractorate of the European Commission.

“One thing is certain, hybrid warfare poses a significant challenge to the EU, its citizens and its interests, and time is of the essence to develop a joint approach to effectively tackle hybrid threats,” said Jorge Domecq and presented three main areas the EDA activities are currently focused on. In particular, Jorge Domecq indicated capability development, civil-military synergies and EU-NATO relations. The EDA Chief Executive announced the upcoming EDA-led war-gaming exercise in February 2016 that shall stress-test available defence capabilities against hybrid threats. “The aim is not to re-invent and come up with a set of new capabilities, instead, the exercise will allow us to see where extra attention is needed and how the capability that exists should be used,” he explained. Moreover, Jorge Domecq underlined the necessity of dual use within Research & Technology domain to avoid “spending twice”, thus to enhance civil-military synergy. Additionally, he emphasised the EU-NATO complementary approach in both directions regarding countering hybrid threats, claiming that this is “not an option, but an absolute need”.

Jorge Domecq’s speech, along with the two other keynote presentations, provided solid grounds for fruitful discussions continued in three panels, which were devoted to various aspects of facing hybrid threats. Among a number of topics raised, the conference participants dwelled upon identifying vulnerabilities hybrid warfare makes use of, shaping awareness of hybrid threats, resilience and deterrence against possible threats, aspects of information sharing  or EU-NATO cooperation. As a matter of fact, Roland van Reybroeck, the EDA Director Cooperation Planning and Support was a speaker of the third panel discussion and talked about building resilience.

Beyond achieving better understanding on hybrid threats, the discussions held at the conference will contribute to the ongoing works on the Joint Framework on Hybrid Warfare that shall be prepared by EEAS by the end of December, together with the Commission and EDA. “If Europe succeeds in offering a credible answer to hybrid treats, it will certainly enable us to make a very meaningful contribution to the security view, becoming a relevant partner and a security provider rather than a security consumer,” said Jorge Domecq, the EDA Chief Executive.


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25 juillet 2015 6 25 /07 /juillet /2015 11:50
photo EDA

photo EDA

Brussels - 22 July, 2015 EU Defence Agency

The recent European Council acknowledged the importance of hybrid warfare for EU Member States. In this interview we address the topic with EDA project officer Axel Butenschoen *.


  • How does hybrid warfare differ from “conventional” warfare? Is it really something new?

From an academic point of view we have to state that a broadly accepted definition of “hybrid warfare” does not exist yet. One reason could be that by nature the characteristics of this new type of threat is evolving nearly on a daily basis. However, amongst analysts there are common elements describing this phenomenon of new threats by “violent threats that are simultaneously carried out by state- and non-state actors along all conventional and unconventional lines of operation within a not exclusively military but also diplomatic, information and economic dimensions of conflict in order to achieve a political goal”. From my perspective all the individual elements, for example information warfare, cyber-attacks, conventional military aggressions and destabilisation operations are individually well known but the synchronized, combined approach adds a new dimension to our understanding of aggression.


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* Axel  Butenschoen is Project Officer for Capability Development Plan within the European Defence Agency.

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