Initially, the concept of “hybrid confrontation” or “hybrid warfare” was based on the “Warden’s Five Rings Theory”: leadership, system essentials, infrastructure, population and fielded military forces.
Through this theory an image is created of the adversary’s stability, seen as the capacity of each individual element of the system and the connections between them. It is presumed that the most important or most vulnerable of these structural elements should be targeted from a distance. Engaging in direct armed confrontation is only conducted as a last resort.
The following are considered as forms of “hybrid” action:
- informational and psychological operations against state and military command bodies, personnel of the armed forces and the population of the adversarial state;
- information attacks on state, military and commercial computer networks and infrastructure;
- a complete or partial disruption of economic relations, violation of transport communications, the introduction of an embargo and a blockade;
- organization of protests of opposition movements and destructive actions through “agents of influence”;
- carrying out armed actions and sabotage by special operations forces, terrorist groups, or irregular units.
The key principles of carrying out “hybrid warfare” are considered timeliness, surprise and secrecy. The initial phase of the conflict, according to the NATO alliance, is the deliberate and planned destabilization of the domestic political situation in the state through an aggressive information campaign.
In the context of the developing crisis, special operations forces are transferred to the territory of the adversary state with the task of taking control of key objects of state and military command, as well as information and communication infrastructure.
At the same time, large military drills are organized for the greater conventional armed forces, demonstrating the possibility of a large-scale military intervention.
In the future, it is presumed that an outbreak of hostilities would be organized, using the armed forces of the opposition, separatists, bandit groups and organized crime, in conjunction with the most active propaganda and information technology pressure on facilities of the adversary’s infrastructure.
After effectively undermining the sovereignty of a part of the territory of the adversary state under control, measures are taken to legislatively consolidate its new status, change the political and territorial structure, and permanently deploy NATO units and sub-units.
According to the concept and documents developed on the basis of the Comprehensive Approach, the plan is to achieve NATO’s goals through cooperation with international and regional non-governmental organizations and local opposition, as well as with criminal structures at every stage of development of the crisis. At the same time, military, reconnaissance, sabotage, and diplomatic tools are to be employed for the prevention of reaching the undesirable scenario of open conflict.
The most significant portion of the “hybrid” actions of the bloc is the information-psychological confrontation. Throughout all of their operations in recent years, NATO allies have continuously influenced their target audiences through psychologically sophisticated propaganda.
The key role is played by “Mainstream Media”. In this case, a model of interaction is used, the essence of which is the formation of a group of “privileged” media, all of whom are provided with priority rights in the coverage and interpretation of events. This is supported by the full technological power of leading information platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Tweeter, etc.
The full analysis can be read on SOUTHFRONT