Wrestling the Bear: The Rise of Russian Hybrid Warfare
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT FORCES STAFF COLLEGE
Pagination or Media Count:
Carl Von Clausewitz defined war as an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will. To that end, the Russian government has waged two major military campaigns since 1991 the invasion of the Republic of Georgia 2008 and the annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine 2014. Russia also conducted numerous other military operations, employing unconventional warfare, irreJUlar warfare and hybrid warfare. Russia has advanced the use of hybrid waJfare in achieving Russian strategic military objectives, particularly in the near abroad -the former Cold War Soviet states, primarily through conducting offensive military operations in sovereign nations just below the threshold of international military response. Hybrid warfare is not currently defined in US Joint Doctrine, however the United States Army Special Operations Command USASOC describes it as combining conventional, irregular, and asymmetric means, to include the persistent manipulation of political and ideological conflict, and Hybrid warfare involves a state or state-like actors use of all available diplomatic, informational, military, and economic means to destabilize an adversary. An analysis of the Russian political environment, economic considerations, and select military operations since 1991, with a sharp focus on Vladimir Putin s strategic leadership, highlights the evolution ofthe Russian brand of hybrid warfare HW. The analysis also articulates the current and future implications for the United States and NATO, which struggle to counter regional Russian aggression. Finally, this thesis contends that the US and NATO are unprepared, unwilling, and unable to counter the current threat that Russian hybrid warfare poses, primarily due to a lack of unity of action, common understanding, and a cohesive strategy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics