Hybrid threats combine conventional and unconventional, military and non-military activities that can be used in a coordinated manner by state or non-state actors to achieve specific political objectives. Hybrid campaigns are multidimensional, combining coercive and subversive measures, using both conventional and unconventional tools and tactics. They are designed to be difficult to detect or attribute. These threats target critical vulnerabilities and seek to create confusion to hinder swift and effective decision-making.
Hybrid threats can range from cyberattacks on critical information systems, through the disruption of critical services such as energy supplies or financial services, to the undermining of public trust in government institutions or the deepening of social divisions.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threats delivered by non-conventional means fall within a category of their own because of the potential scale of the damage they can cause. As attribution is difficult, these challenges require specific and coordinated measures to counter; for example detection of the transfer of dangerous chemicals, reducing access to them, or decontamination.
22 action areas were identified in 2015 ranging from raising awareness to building resilience – for example: