May 30, 2017
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Since its takeover of Crimea in 2014, Russia has become increasingly emboldened, undertaking actions that, rather than propping up a failing regime, strike directly against the functioning of Western democracy. Employing a combination of "hybrid" actions–political, diplomatic, informational, cyber-, economic, covert and low-level force–the Kremlin has targeted countries not only on the fringes of its sphere of influence, but in the heart of Europe and even the United States. 


Although these actions are not new, the past few years have shown a sharp increase in their intensity and scope. While the West has undertaken various responses, including through NATO, the EU, and individual nations, these efforts have not adequately resolved the challenges. The transatlantic community must recognize that an effective response requires an overarching, coordinated strategy to contain the multifaceted aspects of hybrid warfare.

As a result, this paper proposes a comprehensive strategic framework for Europe, Canada, and the United States to address these challenges at both the supranational and national levels and through public and private sector coordinated actions. While hybrid conflict has been defined in many ways, this paper describes hybrid threats to include four key categories: low-level use of force; cyberattacks; economic and political coercion and subversion; and information war. Authors Franklin D. Kramer and Lauren M. Speranza lay out five categories of functional and structural recommendations designed to enhance the resilience of Western democratic governments and societies in the face of Russian hybrid threats.

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