NEWSWATCH: “RUSSIAN HYBRID WARFARE AND OTHER DARK ARTS” – War on the Rocks/Michael Kofman

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Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hybrid warfare has become conversational short form in the West for describing Moscow’s sneaky ways of fighting war. … a dangerous Kremlin innovation the West must learn to grapple with. … the word has mutated from describing how Moscow was fighting its war in Ukraine to incorporating all the various elements of Russian influence and national power. The term continues to evolve, spawning iterations like ‘multi-vector hybrid warfare’ in Europe. Hybrid warfare has become the Frankenstein of the field of Russia military analysis; it has taken on a life of its own and there is no obvious way to contain it. * * * High-end warfare, not hybrid warfare, is where America’s and NATO’s problem truly lies in dealing with Russia. … serious conversations on Russia revolve around conventional challenges like electronic warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-access/area denial. … Russian influence and subversion are real throughout much of Europe, but whipping up fears of this mystical hybrid warfare has led European officials to see the Kremlin’s agents behind every corner.
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Getting Europeans to take European security more seriously is something we can all get behind, but hybrid warfare sounds increasingly like an excuse … not to spend money on high-end conventional capabilities. It’s a lot cheaper to talk about fighting Russian propaganda than buying artillery. At some point though, we’re going to have to stop the heavy breathing on hybrid war, and start parsing reality from narrative. …

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