Outdated Wine, New Bottles: A Theoretical Evaluation of Hybrid Warfare

Lately, the time period hybrid battle has taken a conspicuous place in strategic discourse as the newest buzzword indicating yet one more revolution in navy affairs (Mahnken & Maiolo, 2008; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Fridman, 2018; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019). Quite a few analysts and lecturers have recognized Russia’s operations in japanese Ukraine specifically as an entirely “new approach of waging battle” (Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015, p.199), alleging that the Russian mixture of typical and unconventional forces alongside the prolific use of cyber instruments and knowledge expertise constitutes a break in fashionable strategic follow (Mahnken & Maiolo, 2008; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Jordan et al., 2016; Fridman, 2018). Historians, alternatively, have pointed to the overarching continuity in historic warfare, displaying that hybridity in battle has been efficiently exploited way back to the Peloponnesian Wars (Heuser, 2010; Murray & Mansoor, 2012). Issues of continuity and discontinuity however, all through the abounding new literature on hybrid warfare, there was no rigorous evaluation of its place throughout the broader pantheon of strategic idea – whereas such an strategy may help navy practitioners and analysts perceive the strategic significance and theoretical pedigree of recent hybrid warfare(Grey, 1999; 2005; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019).

Taking paradigms from classical strategic idea and contrasting them with modern-day practices in so-called hybrid warfare permits analysts to establish whether or not these strategies are actually new and the place such practices match into the broader area of strategic research. Subsequently, this paper pursues an exploration of the trendy discourse on hybrid battle throughout the bounds of classical strategic idea. Consequently, this analysis intends to contribute to the creation of a extra thorough and grounded understanding of a extremely complicated subject that has come to dominate navy discourse over the course of the earlier decade. In doing so, it’s argued that, whereas hybrid warfare may not be helpful as a doctrinal idea, it’d show helpful as an analytical framework to analysis the character of battle within the broadest Clausewitzian sense. To that finish, this article is going to first define some conceptual parameters of what constitutes hybrid warfare. Primarily based on these parameters, a number of theoretical ideas will probably be used to construct an analytical framework meant to seize the hybrid warfare phenomenon inside a framework of strategic idea. Flowing from this framework, we’re capable of see what’s and what’s not new.

Conceptual parameters of hybrid warfare

The time period hybrid warfare – alongside different allegedly ‘new’ ideas in battle – has come to occupy an more and more outstanding place in navy strategic discourse prior to now decade, turning into particularly salient after Russia’s actions in Ukraine in 2014 (Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015; Fridman, 2018; Galeotti, 2016; Klijn & Yüksel,, 2019). It has since change into an inherently contested idea with analysts both defending or criticising its doctrinal usefulness, leading to a nonetheless ongoing definitional debate surrounding the query: what even is hybrid warfare (Cullen & Reichborn-Kjennerud, 2017; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Spearin, 2018)? As a way to keep away from being slowed down within the definitional specifics, this textual content doesn’t intend to present one authoritative definition, however slightly appears on the historic discourse surrounding the subject with a purpose to set some descriptive parameters on the idea – parameters upon which a broad consensus exists amongst hybrid warfare’s most outstanding thinkers.

Canvassing the discourse: A story of two hybrids

A time period that, in its essence, refers back to the multiplicity — and subsequent combination — of all accessible devices of energy is certain to trigger confusion. Through the years, the time period hybrid warfare has change into bloated, shifting from a purely navy idea to capturing broader components of statecraft resembling data campaigns, competitors, and sabotage that both do or don’t fall throughout the realm of battle (NCTV, 2016; Van Loon & Verstegen, 2019; Van Haaften, 2020; Cullen & Reichborn-Kjennerud, 2017). The catch-all nature of the time period implies that lecturers and establishments have, because the early 2000s, give you definitions that every appear to have a special emphasis. Because of this, the discourse surrounding the hybrid adjective has change into cut up into two overlapping classes: (1) one focusing extra narrowly on the navy dimension, and (2) one specializing in the holistic risk setting.

Because the early 2000s, Frank Hoffman (2009) – arguably hybrid warfare’s main theorist – has expounded a imaginative and prescient of hybrid warfare as a purely navy idea. In a collection of influential articles, Hoffman posits that battle within the 21st century will seemingly be characterised by a convergence of battle modes: a compression of all ranges and strategies of battle – together with typical capabilities, irregular techniques, numerous depth ranges, and actor sorts (Mattis & Hoffman, 2005; Hoffman, 2009; Mahnken & Maiolo, 2008). As Hoffman (2008, p.37) places it, adversaries will combine “the lethality of state battle with the fanatical and protracted fervour of irregular warfare.” He defines hybrid warfare because the mixing and fusing of “the total vary of strategies and modes of battle right into a single battlespace” (Hoffman, 2009, p.36). This results in a battle setting wherein adversaries can successfully regulate the levers of warfare to their liking — emphasising typical strategies one second and switching to guerrilla warfare the following. There’s a historic precedent of blending typical with unconventional strategies in warfare, however what separates Hoffman’s hybrid warfare idea from earlier theories resembling fourth-generation warfare or compound wars is the deep operational and tactical integration of battle modes by the exploitation of high-technology and the informational sphere (Caliskan, 2019; Mattis & Hoffman, 2009; Hoffman, 2008). In different phrases, hybrid warfare as a navy idea is targeted on the battlespace which — regardless of being steered from the strategic degree — locations emphasis on fusing and coordinating actions on the operational and tactical ranges (Caliskan, 2019; Mattis & Hoffman, 2005; Hoffman, 2008).

The restricted nature of Hoffman’s hybrid warfare idea was broadened exponentially after Russia’s actions in Ukraine in 2014 — and because the idea broadened, so did confusion concerning its conceptualisation (Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015; Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016). In Ukraine, Russia managed to mix typical strategies, unconventional strategies, and non-military means: utilizing covert Particular Forces alongside non-state actors, disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, and power diplomacy; thus destabilising Ukraine in a efficiently holistic trend to the shock of Western observers (Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015; Fridman, 2018; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019; Kilinskas, 2015; Seely, 2017). Prompted by the Russian strategy to Ukraine, the main focus of the controversy shifted in direction of the non-kinetic features of hybridity, shifting away from Hoffman’s battlespace-oriented idea in direction of a broader notion that encapsulates the holistic risk setting, which incorporates — and maybe even prefers — non-military devices of energy. In different phrases, shifting away from the strategic to the grand strategic (Caliskan, 2019; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019). The IISS Army Steadiness 2015, for instance, defines Russian hybrid warfare as follows:

 “Using navy and non-military instruments in an built-in marketing campaign designed to realize shock, seize the initiative and acquire psychological in addition to bodily benefits utilising diplomatic means; refined and speedy data, digital and cyber operations; covert and sometimes overt navy and intelligence motion; and financial strain” (IISS Army Steadiness, 2015).

The extent to which built-in campaigns are new is debatable, however this conceptualisation does increase the notion of hybrid warfare into a way more inclusive idea, going past the navy and successfully watering down the notion of hybrid warfare, with the discourse more and more referring to hybrid threats as a substitute (Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016; Treverton, Thvedt, Chen, Lee, McCue, 2018). This inclusiveness has subsequently discovered its approach into doctrinal definitions by NATO, the EU, and Western governments which all emphasise the broadness of the hybrid idea (Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016, Treverton et al., 2018). The system underneath evaluation subsequently moved from the battlespace — with a transparent navy focus — to the world risk setting which incorporates all devices of state energy.

Conceptual parameters

Making sense of hybrid warfare as an idea thus means distinguishing between two separate discourses, every with a selected focus: (1) hybridity within the navy dimension, and (2) hybridity within the risk setting. The primary discourse refers to a set of operational and tactical decisions in a battlespace and is characterised by a convergence of varied battle modes, enhanced by the exploitation of high-tech weaponry (Mattis & Hoffman, 2005; Hoffman, 2008; Seely, 2017). Hoffman (2008) notes Hezbollah within the Second Lebanese Struggle in 2006 as a first-rate instance of a hybrid adversary: a non-state actor utilizing a combination of guerrilla and standard techniques in an city setting with refined weaponry. Hezbollah “successfully fused militia forces with extremely educated fighters and antitank guided missile groups into the battle” (Hoffman, 2008, p.37-38). Within the navy dimension, subsequently, the hybrid warfare idea has the next parameters: happening inside a battlespace and involving the convergence and harmonisation of:

  • Typical strategies – typical techniques, formations, and organisation
  • Irregular strategies – irregular techniques, formations, and organisations; together with terrorism, guerrilla and proxy warfare, indiscriminate violence, coercion, and felony dysfunction
  • Numerous actor sorts – various between conventional, irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive; can embrace state and non-state actors
  • Superior weaponry and high-technology – resembling community expertise, cyber instruments, and superior typical weapons

The second discourse expands the notion from the battlespace to the worldwide risk setting, with actors utilizing all devices of energy in an built-in trend to realize particular targets (Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016; Treverton et al., 2018; Seely, 2017). The concentrate on non-kinetic measures, nonetheless, dilutes the idea of hybrid warfare past any measure of navy usefulness, with the main focus shifting from hybrid warfare to hybrid threats, and thus from the strategic to the grand strategic. Russia’s actions in Ukraine, for instance, had a distinctly grand strategic character in utilizing the varied devices of state energy in live performance. On this sense, the literature broadly outlines the next parameters surrounding the second discourse (NCTV, 2016; Treverton et al., 2018): happening inside a world risk setting and involving the convergence and harmonisation of:

  • Army means – each typical and irregular strategies
  • Diplomatic means – utilizing or influencing processes in worldwide regulation (e.g. treaties, conventions, and frameworks) to exert diplomatic strain upon a competitor or adversary
  • Financial means – generate financial strain by sanctions, entry to markets, power coverage or in any other case disturb a competitor’s financial and business exercise
  • Cyber instruments – espionage, manipulation, affect, assault, and sabotage
  • Propaganda – (dis)data campaigns and faux information

One conceptualisation takes the slim view, whereas the opposite takes an expansive, all-inclusive view — making a definitional hodgepodge which renders the hybrid warfare notion slightly ineffective as a doctrinal idea. Nevertheless, what each approaches have in frequent is that every requires a holistic view of the enjoying area — a enjoying area wherein strains are blurred. In each, with a purpose to achieve success, an actor must be skilful in realizing which lever to show up and which to show down in keeping with the enemy’s weaknesses and one’s personal strengths. In each, the strategist is invited to rediscover the all-encompassing nature of battle as “greater than a real chameleon that barely adapts its traits to the given case” (Clausewitz, 1976, p.89). Hybridity, each in a battlespace-context as in a world context, poses exactly that chameleonic problem: morphing and shifting always. The parameters as outlined above are nothing new in their very own proper, neither is the combination of them into an entire altogether revolutionary — however to know the strategic significance of such an integration, it will be useful to carry them in opposition to the sunshine of already confirmed strategic ideas. The next part will subsequently try to seize the above parameters inside a number of core paradigms from the sector of strategic idea. Doing so will present that, whereas hybrid warfare may not be helpful as a doctrinal idea, it’d show helpful as an analytical framework to analysis the character of battle within the broadest Clausewitzian sense.

Strategic idea: setting up a framework for evaluation

The good worth of strategic idea lies in its try to establish these components of battle which appear to pop up persistently all through ages of human battle (Caliskan, 2019; Osinga, 2005). Strategic idea “assumes that each one wars in historical past share sure frequent traits” (Caliskan, 2019, p.41). It’s the identification of those traits which results in a holistic system of interrelated ideas that will — by its patchwork character — approximate the nice chimera which so many battle students have tried to seize: the character of battle. Strategic idea’s numerous summary rules are lifted from historic case research by troopers with direct expertise and astute college students of warfare with the purpose of building usually relevant truths about battle (Strachan, 2019; Grey, 1999; 2005) and several other of those normal truths appear to come back collectively within the hybrid warfare phenomenon.

Inside the parameters on hybrid warfare set out within the above part, one witnesses the confluence of a number of core theoretical paradigms which have already got a confirmed historic track-record. In trying to seize the hybrid warfare idea inside a framework of strategic idea, this paper distinguishes between these theoretical rules making up hybrid warfare’s character — or its defining options —and people making up its operational practices. It’s right here argued that hybrid warfare’s character is (1) grand strategic and (2) irregular, whereas its operations are outlined by (3) data warfare and (4) the OODA-loop. Taken collectively, these 4 pillars are relevant to each ranges of the hybrid warfare discourse and point out a broad flexibility, fluidity, and changeability that’s in step with classical pondering on the character of battle. Nevertheless, earlier than analyzing the theoretical pillars underlying hybrid warfare, it is very important be aware what is supposed on this paper when one speaks of the character of battle.

The character of battle: Thucydides, Clausewitz & Moltke

Learning the character of battle could be in comparison with making an attempt to catch smoke: it’s an elusive and near-impossible process that has spawned a physique of literature so expansive that’s deserving of its personal educational self-discipline. There are few students who’ve managed to make an enduring contribution to the controversy on what exactly constitutes the character of battle, however two who managed to take action are at present thought-about giants within the area: Thucydides and Clausewitz (Schake, 2017; Heuser, 2010; Schuurman, 2010; Van der Venne, 2020). Regardless of representing two totally different disciplines — the previous a historian and the latter a navy theorist — each males have formed pondering on the character of battle to a considerable diploma. Each take into account battle to be an inherently human affair that, when studied as an entire – a gestalt in Clausewitz’s phrases — should embrace materials and non-material components. Each have created works which can be so large, contradictory, and all-encompassing they are often considered as the one works that replicate the human complexity of battle’s basically human underpinnings. And each managed to distil the character of battle into a chic trinity of non-material components that successfully captures battle within the broadest doable sense: as a kaleidoscopic socio-cultural occasion (Clausewitz, 1976; Handel, 2008; Schake, 2017; Schuurman, 2010; Strassler, 1996; Van der Venne, 2020; Waldman, 2009).

When discussing the theoretical underpinnings of hybrid warfare, it should be famous that the ensuing framework is on no account a definitive evaluation however must be considered as a tentative first try to present form to a shapeless factor: the character of battle. For causes of readability and a restricted scope, this evaluation will confine itself to Clausewitz’s imaginative and prescient on the character of battle — extra particularly Clausewitz’s major trinity: battle being outlined by (1) coverage, (2) likelihood, and (3) ardour (Schuurman, 2010; Van der Venne, 2020; Waldman, 2009). The broadness and fluidity of the hybrid warfare idea makes it slightly too woolly to function a doctrinal idea, but it surely may assist in giving extra sensible handles to the broad and fluid conceptualisation of Clausewitz’s major trinity. Whereas the Clausewitzian trinity has change into a wellspring of educational controversy, this paper builds its framework throughout the notion that Clausewitz’s major trinity “is broad and fluid sufficient to embody the complete spectrum of battle”, with its non-material focus permitting totally different scope, actor sorts, and depth ranges (Van der Venne, 2020, p.3). The first trinity envisions battle as an ever-morphing chameleonic problem requiring the strategist to be versatile and adaptable – fully in step with hybrid warfare’s fluctuating options.

As an example how Clausewitzian flexibility may discover expression in strategic follow, one want solely have a look at his most profitable disciple: Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (Hughes, 1993). Regardless of not abandoning a scientific physique of labor when it comes to navy idea, the Prussian normal officer enjoys a repute as one among “the ablest navy [minds] since Napoleon” (Chandler, 1980, p.198) and is considered because the purest embodiment of Clausewitzian rules (Hughes, 1993; Gross, 2016). Moltke’s pondering on the character of battle instantly displays Clausewitz in that he too believed battle to be inherently unsure (Hughes, 1993). Three key features of Moltke’s legacy as a strategist carry Clausewitz from the realm of idea into the realm of follow: (1) a decentralised operational strategy, (2) an emphasis on flexibility over doctrine in decision-making, and (3) an emphasis on velocity (Chandler, 1980; Hughes, 1993; Gross, 2016). Consequently, Moltke’s strategy to technique could be seen extra as “a sample of thought” slightly than a collection of strict procedures; extra artwork than science (Hughes, 1993). These three key features also can simply be recognised within the modern discourse on hybrid warfare – as will change into obvious within the theoretical framework laid out beneath – foreshadowing hybridity’s pure match inside Clausewitzian thought. So, with Clausewitz’s view of battle because the philosophical backdrop, how does one conceptualise the core theoretical pillars of the hybrid warfare phenomenon?

As Determine 1 exhibits, the proposed framework — primarily based upon the parameters outlined within the above part — takes present theoretical paradigms to look at how the idea matches throughout the broader pantheon of strategic idea. So, in opposition to the backdrop of the Clausewitzian major trinity, hybrid warfare’s character is (1) grand strategic and (2) irregular, whereas its operations are marked by (3) data warfare and (4) the OODA-loop. These 4 pillars undergird the trendy hybrid warfare idea.

Character of hybrid warfare

1. Grand technique

This paper proposes that hybrid warfare is basically grand strategic in character. In utilizing grand technique as the primary pillar within the theoretical underpinnings of the hybrid idea, one ought to be aware that this pillar refers primarily, however not solely, to the expanded interpretation of hybrid threats which emerged after the Russo-Ukrainian battle of 2014. Following a definition given by Colin Grey (2010, p.18), the time period grand technique must be understood as:

“[the] route and use product of all or any among the many whole belongings of a safety neighborhood in help of its coverage objectives as determined by politics. The speculation and follow of grand technique is the speculation and follow of statecraft itself”. 

The confluence and combination of all devices of state energy is nothing new and has a theoretical pedigree reminiscent of thinkers resembling Julian Corbett, J.F.C. Fuller, Basil Liddell Hart, Edward Mead Earle, and Colin Grey (Caliskan, 2019; Strachan, 2014; 2019; Fuller, 1923; Liddell Hart, 1928; 1991; Grey, 1999; 2005; Milevski, 2014). Within the ranges of battle, navy technique is basically subordinate to grand technique, as Determine 2 exhibits. Because the discourse on hybrid warfare illustrates, the distinction between grand technique and technique is sort of synonymous to the distinction between a risk setting and a battlespace-oriented view of hybrid warfare: the previous focuses on the harmonisation of all of the devices of state energy whereas the latter is restricted to the navy instrument (Caliskan, 2019; Strachan, 2014; Grey, 1999; 2005; 2010). In idea, subsequently, a transparent distinction is made between navy technique and grand technique, with navy technique taking a subordinate place (Caliskan, 2019; Strachan, 2014; Grey, 2010). In follow, nonetheless, such clear boundaries not often apply. If one considers Colin Grey’s (2010, p.28) injunction that “[all] technique is grand technique [and military] methods should be nested in a extra inclusive framework,” the grand technique pillar can be utilized to the narrower battlespace-oriented view, be it in a restricted capability. However how exactly does the time period grand technique apply when describing the character of recent hybrid warfare?

Inside the vary of grand strategic choices accessible to a state, navy motion is however one ingredient to be utilized in live performance with different devices (Caliskan, 2019; Strachan, 2014; Grey, 2010). Primarily based on a penetrating evaluation of the grand technique/hybrid warfare nexus, Murat Caliskan (2019) identifies 5 important devices of energy which make up a state’s grand technique: (1) financial, (2) social, (3) navy, (4) informational, and (5) diplomatic measures — Determine 3 beneath is a near-exact reproduction of Caliskan’s (2019) mannequin. The beforehand analysed discourse on hybrid warfare as an expanded idea displays these devices virtually completely, showcasing how the risk setting interpretation of hybrid warfare is solely a variation on a theme — a slightly tried-and-true theme at that. As Caliskan (2019, p.50) mentions “[it] is attention-grabbing and ironic that the defence neighborhood rediscovers “grand technique” with every new time period coined”.

Russian actions in Ukraine in 2014 — and the ensuing buzz surrounding “Russian hybrid warfare” (Fridman, 2018) — could be considered as nothing greater than the profitable execution of a grand technique (Caliskan, 2019; Grey, 2010). That is mirrored within the 2013 article by Russia’s Chief of the Normal Workers Valery Gerasimov (as quoted in Galeotti, 2016, p.287), whose imaginative and prescient is seen as a basis stone for Russian hybrid warfare:

“The main target of utilized strategies of battle has altered within the route of the broad use of political, financial, informational, humanitarian, and different nonmilitary measures – utilized in coordination with the protest potential of the inhabitants. All that is supplemented by navy technique of a hid character, together with finishing up actions of informational battle and the actions of special-operations forces. The open use of forces – typically underneath the guise of peacekeeping and disaster regulation — is resorted to solely at a sure stage, primarily for the achievement of ultimate success within the battle.”

As a result of current interpretations of hybridity emphasise the harmonisation of navy and non-military measures — together with financial, social, informational, and diplomatic strategies — hybrid warfare is clearly grand strategic in character (Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016; Treverton et al., 2018; Seely, 2017).

The concertation of varied devices of state energy is subsequently nothing new in its personal proper, however the hybrid phenomenon will not be restricted to the uppermost areas of (grand) strategic decision-making. As now we have seen, the idea started with a purely navy focus, with specific consideration paid in direction of harmonisation on the operational and tactical ranges, slightly than the strategic and grand strategic (Caliskan, 2019; Mattis & Hoffman, 2005; Hoffman, 2009; Mahnken & Maiolo, 2008). Whereas this primary pillar could be most helpful in describing the expanded risk setting notion of hybrid warfare, the remaining three theoretical pillars are relevant to each conceptualisations — and thus to all ranges of battle.

2. Irregular warfare

The second defining function of hybrid warfare is its irregularity. In hybrid warfare, irregular strategies are blended with typical strategies (Caliskan, 2019; Hoffman, 2008; Treverton et al., 2018; Seely, 2017), however given Western militaries’ propensity to concentrate on typical battle, it’s exactly that irregularity that appears to confuse Western observers (Kitzen, 2012; Grey. 2005). Irregularity is in truth such a basic element of hybrid warfare that Thomas Mahnken and Joseph Maiolo (2008, p.vi) — of their invaluable assortment of core strategic literature, Strategic Research: A Reader — type Frank Hoffman’s (2009) paper on hybrid warfare underneath the heading “Irregular warfare and small wars”. For these causes, this paper offers irregularity a slightly outstanding position because the second pillar within the framework. However earlier than analyzing why irregular warfare is such a key element within the sprawling hybrid idea, it’s essential to have a look at what fashionable irregular warfare entails. The writings of two key figures have been notably instrumental within the growth of the time period: T.E. Lawrence and Mao Tse Tung.

The heritage of irregular warfare is as outdated as time itself – with variations of the idea showing within the writings of Solar Tzu, Thucydides, and Kautilya (Purvis, 2009; Kiras, 2016). Two key 20th century figures, nonetheless, gave the time period a conceptual rigour not beforehand seen. Lawrence of Arabia’s (1926) Seven Pillars of Knowledge and Mao’s (2008) On Protracted Struggle formed pondering on fashionable irregular warfare, which at present is seen as:

“[a] violent wrestle amongst state and non-state actors for the legitimacy and affect over the related populations. IW favours oblique and uneven approaches, although it might make use of the total vary of navy and different capabilities, with a purpose to erode and adversary’s energy, affect, and can” (Kiras, 2016, p.309).

Such capabilities can embrace insurgency, terrorism, proxy warfare, and felony dysfunction (Caliskan, 2019). Each Lawrence and Mao primarily based their theories of warfare on direct expertise, and each agree on a number of necessary features of the irregular warfare phenomenon: irregular warfare is (1) uneven, it’s a authentic technique particularly when dealing with bigger typical powers; (2) amorphic, irregulars can simply morph into regulars and vice versa if the state of affairs requires it; and (3) people-centric, centered on influencing and controlling populations versus territory (Lawrence, 1926; 2008; Mao, 2008: Kiras, 2016; Purvis, 2009). Irregularity subsequently gives a fluid strategy which targets a extra highly effective opponent’s legitimacy, posing nice conceptual difficulties for big militaries centered on typical battle (Kitzen, 2012; Kiras, 2016; Purvis, 2009). Lawrence (1926, p.198) famously describes combating an irregular foe as “consuming soup with a knife”. The overlap with hybrid warfare right here is slightly apparent.

Hybrid warfare — on each discourse ranges — is fully in step with Lawrence (1926; 2008) and Mao’s (2008) view of uneven, amorphic, and people-centric battle. For instance, Hoffman’s (2008) view of hybrid warfare’s multi-modal high quality is, at its core, irregular. Solely, the shifting between typical and irregular techniques in battle is helped by a far-reaching operational and tactical integration by network-technology — Hezbollah within the Second Lebanon Struggle is the prime instance Hoffman (2008) offers. In flip, Russian “hybrid” actions in Ukraine and past additionally match the irregular paradigm (Treverton et al., 2018; Fridman, 2018). Russia’s holistic use of so-called little inexperienced males, felony organisations, and partisan forces alongside its Particular Operations forces is a case-in-point, checking the containers for uneven techniques and amorphousness (Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015; Fridman, 2018; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019; Kilinskas, 2015; Seely, 2017). Furthermore, Russian disinformation campaigns and spreading of propaganda in goal states is clearly people-centric in that it goals to delegitimise adversary’s governments within the eyes of its populations (Treverton et al., 2018). So, hybrid warfare on each discourse ranges is characterised by irregularity, making it a core pillar on this framework.

Operational features of hybrid warfare

3. Data warfare

The position of knowledge is important in all battle however in hybrid warfare particularly the best way wherein data is operationalised and employed could be the one factor that’s actually novel. Within the early Nineties, the First Gulf Struggle made a major impression on navy theorists who considered the array of high-technology weapons and communications methods as presaging a brand new approach of waging battle pushed by data (Arquilla & Ronfeldt, 1997; Molander et al., 1996). Nevertheless, subsequent analysts have struggled to come back to a transparent definition of what exactly constitutes data warfare. The time period has since then been recast as an umbrella idea, delineated by Burns (1999) as “a category of strategies, together with assortment, transport, safety, denial, disturbance, and degradation of knowledge, by which one maintains a bonus over one’s adversaries”. With relation to hybrid warfare, this finds expression in two concrete methods: (1) the usage of network-technology to combine the battlespace, and (2) the usage of data campaigns to undermine an adversary at dwelling, together with the usage of cyber instruments.

First, the usage of network-technology to reinforce navy operations has been given rigorous consideration by a number of students connected to the US Division of Protection who developed the idea of network-centric warfare (Alberts, Garstka, & Stein, 2008). Community-centric warfare focuses on the “fight energy that may be generated from the efficient linking or networking of the warfighting enterprise” (Alberts et al., 2008, p.87). In doing so, dispersed teams or cells can create a single shared battlespace consciousness that enhances operational and tactical velocity, responsiveness, and effectiveness (Alberts et al, 2008; Otaiku, 2018). That is in step with Hoffman’s (2009) battlespace-oriented imaginative and prescient of hybrid warfare. However networking additionally applies to the broader view of hybrid warfare. Fridman (2018) outlines how Russian geopolitical thinker Aleksandr Dugin expanded the idea of network-centric warfare past the battlefield, viewing a community as “an informational dimension, wherein main strategic operations are developed” (Fridman, 2018, p.78). This conceptualisation implies that the informational sphere consists of in its purview components that have been as soon as separate: navy items, communication infrastructure, managing public opinion, diplomacy, media, and social processes. This envisions a a lot bigger warfare system, which finds expression within the post-2014 conceptualisation of hybrid warfare as a holistic world risk setting.

Second, this broader networked risk setting could be exploited to undermine an adversary’s legitimacy at dwelling. Russian data campaigns in goal states are an apparent instance of how this could be achieved (Treverton et al, 2018; Seely, 2017). Treverton et al. (2018) define a number of information-based instruments Russia makes use of in its hybrid warfare strategy: propaganda, home media shops like Russia Right this moment (RT), social media, and faux information. In follow, these parts are inclined to bleed into each other, however the core goal is the weaponization of knowledge with the intention of harming one’s adversary – maybe not bodily, however morally and socially (Treverton et al., 2018). Associated to the elevated networking of the worldwide system is the risk posed by cyber instruments, together with cyberattacks, cyber espionage, and cyber manipulation. In hybrid warfare phrases, Russia has repeatedly used data campaigns and cyber instruments to precede or complement navy operations within the 2014 Russo-Ukraine battle. Earlier than kicking off navy actions, Russia has for instance disabled the Ukrainian energy grid, attacked authorities web sites, distributed malware, and unfold propaganda and faux information through social media and RT (Cerulus, 2019; Treverton et al., 2018; Seely, 2017).

Using data in hybrid warfare is of paramount significance: first within the sense of leveraging high-technology to forge a battlespace benefit, and second by weaponizing data with a purpose to degrade an adversary’s legitimacy within the court docket of public opinion. In fact, it is very important keep in mind that the underlying thread on this pillar is intelligence, which might — in keeping with Caliskan (2019) — be grouped underneath the informational element of grand technique. Intelligence builds accessible data, and knowledge in a networked setting can result in speedy and efficient decision-making, which brings us to the fourth and remaining theoretical pillar of the hybrid idea.

4. OODA-loop

The ultimate pillar defining hybrid warfare’s execution is the significance of the OODA-loop, developed by John Boyd (Qureshi, 2020; Osinga, 2005; 2015; Olsen, 2015; Coram, 2002). The OODA-loop has a legacy as an oft-quoted however ill-understood strategic idea, often being decreased to its easiest interpretation as a choice cycle involving: (1) observe, (2) orient, (3) determine, and (4) act (Osinga, 2005; 2015; Coram, 2002). The frequent logic is that, in warfare, the actor who manages to “out-pace or out-think the opponent” and undergo the OODA-loop extra quickly will come out victorious (Osinga, 2005, p.1). One should “keep one or two steps forward of the adversary; [and] function contained in the adversary’s time scale” (Coram, 2002, ch.24). Honouring his fighter pilot background, Boyd thus locations immense emphasis on velocity and adaptableness, along with his biographer Robert Coram (2002) marking the OODA-loop as an inherently time-based idea of battle. The strategic utility of the OODA-loop stretches past the fast battlefield, nonetheless. Giving an intensive evaluation of the nuances of the OODA-loop in itself goes properly past the scope of this paper, and higher males than I’ve executed so with higher savvy and alacrity (see Osinga, 2005; 2015). This part will subsequently restrict itself to giving a essentially minimised overview of the core and flexibility of the idea and the way it pertains to hybrid warfare.

Colin Grey (1999, p.90-91) wrote the next close to the OODA-loop’s versatile logic of battle: “Boyd’s loop can apply to the operational, strategic, and political ranges of battle […] The OODA loop might seem too humble to benefit categorization as grand idea, however that’s what it’s”. The OODA-loop’s simplicity is deceiving: it could be offered as a single loop, however in actuality, it’s rather more complicated (Osinga, 2005; 2015; Coram, 2002). Essentially the most full drawings of the OODA-loop in Boyd’s well-known displays present “thirty arrows connecting the varied substances, which implies tons of of doable loops could be derived” (Coram, 2002, ch.24). When shifting by the decision-cycle, a warfighter brings a number of components to the desk which impression how that particular person strikes by the loops: e.g. cultural traditions, earlier experiences, genetics, and knowledge processing habits (Coram, 2002). Because of this, every loop is as unpredictable as the following – and “unpredictability is essential to the success of the OODA-loop” (Coram, 2002). Furthermore, one needn’t full each side of the loop each time: when a commander has the right understanding of the quickly altering setting (or Fingerspitzengefühl) the loop can velocity up considerably. In essence, Boyd’s idea of battle subsequently places “uncertainty, and cognitive processes central stage” (Osinga, 2015, p.92), with velocity and adaptableness as core tenets, echoing Moltke’s view of technique as a “sample of thought” (Hughes, 1993, p.7).

In keeping with Osinga (2015, p.92), the OODA-loop’s concentrate on adaptability presents the warfighter — on each degree — with a “wealthy array of concepts and levers to control” because the state of affairs modifications. This side, mixed with Boyd’s emphasis on fluidity slightly than inflexible doctrine, make the OODA-loop a pure match to the execution of hybrid warfare. Once more, taking Russian actions in Ukraine for instance, the Russians instantly utilized Boyd’s injunction to utilize “selection, rapidity, shock, creating uncertainty and multidimensional warfare” (Osinga, 2015, p.54). In a collection of speedy strikes utilizing a number of devices of state energy, exploiting the political and navy confusion in Ukraine, and making use of varied actor sorts and battle modes, Russia managed to destabilise Ukraine in a speedy, adaptable, and holistic method, leaving Ukraine fairly reeling and onlookers shocked (Freedman, 2019; Bachmann & Gunneriusson, 2015; Fridman, 2018).

The OODA-loop is, in its essence, elegant and parsimonious sufficient to be relevant to all battle (Grey, 1999). Its emphasis on adaptability, velocity, and fluidity makes Boyd’s idea a pure match with the fluid and chameleonic nature of the hybrid warfare idea — on each discourse ranges. Hybrid warfare invitations the strategist to adapt shortly to a multidimensional battle setting, providing a number of levers to show up or down because the state of affairs calls for — overlapping with the OODA-loop’s concentrate on adaptability and cognitive processes (Osinga, 2015). In the long run, the OODA-loop interlocks with the opposite pillars of the theoretical framework and collectively kind a complete view of the strategic idea underlying the hybrid warfare phenomenon.

Conclusion: A framework for thought

All through the abounding new literature on hybrid warfare, there was no rigorous evaluation of its place throughout the broader pantheon of strategic idea — whereas such an strategy may help navy practitioners and analysts perceive the contested idea’s strategic significance and theoretical pedigree (Grey, 1999; 2005; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019). To that finish, the framework proposed on this paper is supposed to seize the hybrid idea as broadly as doable. Following Caliskan’s (2019, p.41) reminder that strategic idea “is a system of interlocking ideas and rules pertained to technique, which postulates that there exists a system of frequent attributes to all wars”, the 4 pillars as offered above should not be seen in a vacuum. All 4 components are intertwined, entangled, and overlapping; collectively making up hybrid warfare’s theoretical base. Primarily based on the parameters of the present discourse, the hybrid warfare phenomenon is subsequently greatest captured when viewing it as a composite of 4 theoretical paradigms: (1) grand technique, (2) irregularity, (3) data warfare, and (4) the OODA-loop. All ideas successfully bleed into each other. Because of this, hybrid warfare’s theoretical underpinning is huge, each when it comes to depth and breadth, which instantly displays how sprawling the character of the hybrid idea has change into. This has a number of implications for the usefulness of the hybrid warfare idea.

First, hybrid warfare consists primarily of already confirmed strategic ideas and its newness is subsequently minimal. Claims of novelty in battle abound when a strategic context is topic to vary and after the 2014 Russo-Ukrainian battle, hybrid warfare was hailed one thing utterly new (Mahnken & Maiolo, 2008; Murray & Mansoor, 2012; Fridman, 2018; Klijn & Yüksel, 2019). Nevertheless, with strategic idea as a information, the above evaluation exhibits that solely one of many 4 pillars could be seen as comparatively new: data warfare. Hybrid warfare as a strategic idea is subsequently in essence a coming-together of a number of well-tested rules of strategic idea right into a single broad idea.

Second, the hybrid warfare idea is much too cumbersome to function a guiding doctrinal idea. Because the discourse expanded from a battlespace-oriented view to a risk environment-oriented view of hybridity, so did confusion concerning its use. Every authorities and every establishment seems to have its personal definition, resulting in additional confusion as to how greatest to form coverage (Caliskan, 2019; Galeotti, 2016; Treverton et al., 2018; Seely, 2017). Making an attempt to disentangle the woolly idea, the above analytical framework additional exhibits that – when distilling hybrid warfare to its essence – the hybrid idea in truth repackages older paradigms which have a much better utility for policymakers. This paper subsequently agrees with Caliskan’s (2019, p.55) assertion that “hybrid warfare doesn’t benefit adoption as a doctrinal idea”.

Third, whereas the hybrid warfare idea is hardly new and whereas the broadness of the idea undermines its doctrinal usefulness, it’d nonetheless function an analytical framework to analysis the character of recent battle within the broadest Clausewitzian sense. In wanting on the nature of battle by Clausewitz’s major trinity, one tends to remain throughout the realm of non-material features, philosophising a couple of phenomenon that can not be absolutely grasped (Clausewitz, 1976; Handel, 2008; Schake, 2017; Schuurman, 2010; Strassler, 1996; Van der Venne, 2020). This paper exhibits that hybrid warfare shares a number of key options with summary pondering on the character of battle within the custom of Clausewitz and Moltke: i.e. fluidity, changeability, and uncertainty. As such, the proposed framework could be seen as a tentative first try to present some sensible handles to an summary topic: the character of battle.

Lastly, it should be famous that this evaluation is completely restricted. Although bold in scope of concepts, the scope of the phrase rely restricts the depth of research. Every pillar’s relation to the hybrid idea can spawn complete books however has been handled right here in a essentially minimised – and maybe slightly blunt – method. Furthermore, a number of necessary features haven’t been included on this textual content, together with the inherent confusion surrounding what constitutes battle and peace in a hybrid context and the relation of hybrid warfare to gray zone battle. There’s a lot that has not been stated. Following Clausewitz’s (1976, p.132) instruction that idea is supposed “to make clear ideas and concepts which have change into, because it have been, confused and entangled”, this paper hopes to contribute in some extent to the elucidation of a befuddled idea. It’s clear, nonetheless, that the controversy surrounding the hybrid warfare idea is much from over.



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