BU Associate Professor in Law teaches NATO officials about the complexities of hybrid war

Dr Sascha Bachmann, Associate Professor in Law, has been invited to speak at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) School about his research into ‘hybrid war’ and its legal ramifications.  Hybrid war is a concept that has emerged since the Cold War and sums up the complexities of modern warfare, which go beyond conventional military tactics, often involving cyberwarfare, propaganda and a fluid, non-state adversary.

Given the rapidly changing nature of conflict, the importance of research in this area cannot be underestimated as it can help policy makers shape national and international responses to security threats.  For the last few years, Dr Bachmann has been working with military experts at the Swedish Defence University to explore the idea of hybrid war and provide advice to policy makers about how to respond.  He has been working with Professor Håkan Gunneriusson, Head of Research: Ground Tactical and Operational Matters at SEDU, since 2011 on the subject.

“Hybrid war as an idea has become particularly topical since Russia’s activities in Ukraine and the Crimea, as it’s become clear that modern warfare has evolved into something very different, which presents policy makers with a new challenge,” explains Dr Bachmann, “It’s a new concept and one that is changing very quickly.  Hybrid war is something that governments and policy makers need to know how to respond to as conventional military strategies don’t work in the face of it.”

“Underpinning this is a need for a very different type of legal framework to tackle hybrid war, because at present we have very few tools that will help us to respond to it.  Take the internet as an example; it’s very hard to prevent the spread of disinformation and fear-based propaganda, but it’s important that we know how to deal with this in kind as false information can rapidly sway public opinion.”

“The fast moving pace of this area and the need for new information about it means that it’s an area where academic researchers can make a real difference to policy,” says Dr Bachmann, “By working together, we can look at these issues in a new way and come up with an international response and a new legal framework to tackle them.”

Dr Bachmann will be presenting his research as part of a course designed to provide senior personnel with an evaluation of NATO’s current and future security environment.

Further information about Dr Bachmann’s recent research can be found here and a recent submission to the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee can be found here.