Contemporary Hybrid Warfare and the Evolution of Special Operations Theory

  • Dennis Gyllensporre
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


The third chapter elaborates the theory of special operations against the backdrop of hybrid warfare, viz., the kind of war pursued by Russia in Ukraine. The author stresses that hybrid warfare is not new. However, contemporary Russian warfare has some distinct features as it involves eight phases, the first five of which are covert. It is further argued that contemporary hybrid warfare applies a mix of conventional and unconventional measures. Further, Gyllensporre argues that research by Arreguín-Toft provides a possibility for small states since it postulates that the use of indirect measures increases the likelihood of success significantly. Like a chameleon, the application of defensive strategies needs to continuously adjust to the environment and tailor special operations against enemy actions so that asymmetry is ensured.


Small State Special Operation Special Force Direct Defense Relative Superiority 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Gyllensporre
    • 1
  1. 1.

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