Leaders’ response to hybrid threats:
a real-time case study
Western nations need to build closer partnerships with the private sector to sharpen NATO and the European Union responses to hybrid security threats, participants at a unique day-long exercise concluded.
“Hybrid warfare is now real warfare,” Jamie Shea, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and former deputy assistant general at NATO. “This is an opportunity for the private sector and government to solve the problems.”
The event drew over three dozen senior officials and security experts from NATO, European institutions, national authorities and private companies to examine how they can build society-wide resilience to hybrid challenges.
Participants underscored the need to build trust that creates a ‘co-working’ space for private and public players to ensure seamless cooperation in the event of a crisis.
“Partnership with the private sector, has to be more than just cooperation,” said a lawmaker from one NATO ally.
“It should be about formulating policy together, not just cooperating when you have a problem,” they added, pointing out that the private sector is often the target of hybrid attacks as well as a solution provider.
The exercise was based on responses to a fictional scenarios that included the high-jacking of a ship loaded with liquified natural gas which terrorists threaten to explode in a crowded port city; cyber-attacks that shut down banking services in a European Union country ahead of sensitive elections; and the mysterious severing of undersea cables linking the country to the rest of the EU.
Among the ideas, participants emphasised the need for better intelligence sharing to ensure relevant policymakers are fully informed of hybrid risks; the importance of greater international cooperation between law enforcement and civil protection services to match that among the military; for pro-active media strategies to keep citizens informed and counter fake news during a crisis; and outreach to all sectors of society to counter hostile efforts to undermine faith in democratic institutions.
“If we adopt resilience it will serve us for all sorts of scenarios, so it’s a win-win situation,” Shea concluded.
Friends of Europe‘s new flagship project ‘Hybrid Warfare Readiness’ is a group simulation tabletop exercise involving international actors from both the private and public sectors. The exercise is aimed at strengthening public-private sector cooperation in hybrid crises. Participants will have to deliberate on how to proceed when faced with a series of hostile hybrid campaigns directed against large portions of Europe’s economy and security. The tabletop exercise will bring together some 30 senior decision-makers including representatives from the EU, national governments, the private sector, and NATO.
The purpose of this exercise is to explore how governments, institutions and the private sector work together during a hybrid threat crisis. Friends of Europe will summarise the key takeaways of the exercise and produce recommendations to improve cooperation among the key actors affected by a hybrid crisis.
The exercise will be held behind closed doors and is by invitation only. The outcomes and key recommendations will be widely distributed.
- Read our ‘Hybrid and transnational threats’ publication to learn more about how both state and non-state actors are using hybrid tactics in order to meet their geopolitical objectives.
Senior Associate Fellow of the European Leadership Network and former deputy assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy and head of the strategic analysis team at NATO
Hybrid Threats Officer, International Military Staff (IMS), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Former Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee (MC) and former Chief of Defence of Denmark
Co-Founder and Secretary General
Co-Founder & CEO at Hozint - Horizon Intelligence and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)
Senior Advisor International Affairs at the NATO-coordination- Secretariat for EU and International Coordination of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
Deputy Spokesperson at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Senior Expert at the Secretariat of the Task Force on Security Union at the European Commission Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs
Head of Unit for Transports Networks at the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Minister of State, President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, former NATO secretary-general and former Dutch foreign minister
Philippe de la Bletiere
Deputy Head of Analysis and Reporting Division at the EU intelligence and situation centre (INTCEN) of the European External Action Service (EEAS)
Senior Sales Manager at Intrasoft International
Espen Barth Eide
Former minister of foreign affairs, former minister of defence, First Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment for the National Parliament of the Kingdom of Norway
Director for Policy and Planning at the National Emergency Supply Agency for Finland
Defense Policy Advisor at the US Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Head of Hybrid Threats at the Service of Deputy Secretary General CSDP and crisis response of the European External Action Service (EEAS)
Jonathan Toby Harris
Member of the House of Lords, Chair of the National Preparedness Commissio, former Chairof the Metropolitan Police Authority, and former Reviewer of London’s terrorist preparedness
Security Lead of BT Group
Jimmy Jaber Bringas
Chairman of UniportBilbao and Co-founder and CEO of Sparber Group
Lead resilience staff officer at the Enablement & Resilience Section at the Defence Policy and Planning Division (DPP) for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Director for External Relations at the European Commission Secretariat General
Chris Kremidas Courtney
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, Lecturer for Institute for Security Governance (ISG) in Monterey, California, and Advisor for Governance and Resilience at Extended Reality Safety Initiative (XRSI), San Francisco
Director General for Rescue Services at the Ministry of the Interior for Finland's representative to NATO's Civil Emergency Planning Committee in DG format
Member of Steering Group Strategic Communication for the Federal Foreign Office in Germany
Director for Emergency Management at the European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)
Permanent Representative at the Joint Delegation of the United Kingdom to NATO
Senior Expert on Cyber Security at the e-Governance Academy Foundation
Member of the Rapid Alert System network, Slovenia Government Communication Office
Security Analyst at the Antwerp Port Authority
International Community Relations Manager at the Antwerp Port Authority
Head of Policy Advice & Regulatory Affairs, KBC Group
Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones
Member of the House of the Lords National Security Strategy Joint Committee and former minister of state in the United Kingdom
Counsellor of the Crisis Management Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia
Civilian Military Advisor (CIVAD) at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)
Research analyst at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence
Director of EU Government Affairs at Microsoft
Director of Operations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operations Division (OPS)
Robert Piotr Soltyk
Adviser at the European Commission Directorate General for Communication
Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Promoting Our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas
Policy Officer at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Division Strategic Communications and Information Analysis
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defense at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Political Advisor at the US Mission to NATO
Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence, Friends of Europe; author or “After the Ice”, “Crossing the Wilderness”, and “Murky Waters”
Leendert van Bochoven
Global Director for National Security at IBM
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