Hybrid Conflict and the Changing Nature of Actors

Rob De Wijk

in The Oxford Handbook of War

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199562930
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Hybrid Conflict and the Changing Nature of Actors


This article argues that advances in technology triggered an evolution in the art of war and contributed to the effectiveness of combat forces, both conventional and irregular. But technology has not become the great equalizer, because of the way asymmetrical responses can offset technological superiority. Since the end of the Cold War the conventional armed forces of the West have mainly fought against armed groups who use irregular warfare tactics to neutralize Western superiority. However, miscalculations in a multipolar world and scarce resources increase the risk of inter-state conflict. This could mean that the focus of the West will gradually shift back from non-state actors to state actors. But as long as weak actors confront stronger ones, hybrid warfare will remain the norm.

Keywords: hybrid conflict; technological advances; art of war; combat forces; asymmetrical responses; technological superiority; multipolar world

Article.  6619 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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