The Rise of Hybrid Warfare

Despite repeated threats by Pentagon officials that a return to sequestration would require a change in strategy, the 2015 national military strategy released Wednesday maintains the existing requirement to defeat an adversary in a “large-scale, multi-phase campaign, while denying … another aggressor” elsewhere. The strategy assesses the probability of an interstate war to be “low but growing,” but notes that, “Should one occur … the consequences would be immense.” Violent extremist organizations, such as ISIS, pose an immediate risk. And, the risk of a hybrid approach to warfare, as exhibited by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is likely. “Hybrid conflicts serve to increase ambiguity, complicate decision-making, and slow the coordination of effective responses,” states the report. As such, the strategy details three national military objectives. They are: “to deter, deny, and defeat state adversaries; to disrupt, degrade and defeat [violent extremist organizations]; and to strengthen our global network of allies and partners.”