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HYBRID WARFARE, PAKISTAN AND CPEC

  • Muhammad Azam Khan
  • Dec, 2017
  • 276
  • International

A hybrid war, according to Hoffman, can be conducted by both states and non-state actors and incorporates a range of different modes of warfare, including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts including indiscriminate violence, coercion and criminal disorder

In 1993 when the beginning of an era of cyber wars was first predicted, many international scholars slammed it as too fanciful a notion to be true. Some 24 years later, it has become a menacing reality. Cyber war is the modern dimension in warfare and continues to evolve post-haste. From individual’s smart phones to a nation state’s large commercial, public and strategic communication networks over and above military weapons and sensors, almost every single entity is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. These attacks could emanate from a nation or else non-state actors. But cyber-attacks have the potential to force information networks to run afoul, fail or become corrupt and resultantly degrade mission-critical functions.

The notion, cyber war initially referred to military operations involving information technology.Modern military warfare usually requires combined and closely integrated operations networked via data links. Advanced sensors, weapons and communication systems meanwhile depend on computer processing and on maintaining connectivity to each other. The attacker in cyber warfare aims to target the opposing command and control, and (or) weapon sensor systems. This is meant to cause disruption and paralysis in adversary’s decision making and functioning of equipment and resultant lowering of his overall war fighting capacity. Consequently, the task of attacker becomes much simpler. If pursued successfully, capitulation of adversary becomes only a matter of time.

The scale and scope of cyber warfare has since expanded both horizontally and vertically. In its contemporary application cyber warfare encompasses all attacks on cyber security, such as cyber espionage or cyber-crimes. Since 2014 the terms “hybrid war” and “hybrid threats” have gradually replaced cyber warfare in the context of a country’s national security. These terms havenow gained wide currency and are currently under extensive use in security and policy discourses in the major capitals around the world.

The concept is associated with US military theorist, Frank G. Hoffman who first coined the term “hybrid war” in an article appeared in a top -line magazine in the United States somewhere in December 2007.Hoffman’s study was based on war experience of the Israeli Defence Forces with Hizbollah in Lebanon during conflict between the two in 2006. In the article, Hoffman attempted to bridge the gap between categorically divided regular and irregular wars in the context of twenty-first century military operations.

A hybrid war, according to Hoffman, can be conducted by both states and non-state actors and incorporates a range of different modes of warfare, including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics and formations, terrorist acts including indiscriminate violence and coercion and criminal disorder. While there had been previous studies that discussed such a phenomenon, it was Hoffman’s work that triggered wide ranging debate on contemporary hybrid threats, advocating hybrid war as an emerging new type of conflict in the twenty-first century.

Hoffman’s concept, now largely accepted, at least in the western world, varies nonetheless from Russian understanding of hybrid warfare. Although the Russian idea of hybrid warfare largely draws from the study of US military theory, the difference lies in its application. The Russians have not blindly replicated the US model but rather interpreted it in the context of Russian politico-military experience.

Consequently, ‘while the western concept of hybrid warfare focuses chiefly on military tactical and operational activities directed and coordinated within the main battle space to achieve synergistic effects, Russian notion (named gibridnaya voyna) revolves around broader ideas and involves all spheres of public life: politics, economy, social development, and culture’.

The Russian version of hybrid war came under global spotlight following the last elections in the United States. There is now sufficient credible evidence with US intelligence authorities indicating that at the direct behest of President Putin, Russia manipulated the election resultsin the United States through hacking private and personal emails of Hillary Clinton. The intended aim was to spread negative propaganda on Democratic candidate; disparage and denigrate her so as to shape public opinion against Trump’s opponent. The move is seen as the first successful and significant employment of hybrid warfare at strategic ...

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