On 18 November, the ICDS hosted a workshop organized together with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) which focused on the so-called “shaping operations” conducted by Russia. Russia’s behaviour toward its neighbours has stoked interest in the so-called “hybrid warfare”.
By challenging conventional notions of “war” and “peace,” Russia’s actions have brought a series of difficult strategic and legal questions to the forefront of international debate. One of the critical questions is how to identify and respond to the activities, or “shaping operations”, conducted by Russia during what is often termed as “phase zero” of a conflict, i.e. before various overt means of strategic coercion and confrontation are employed. This was discussed by a group of experts of foreign and security policy, intelligence and special forces operations, political and economic warfare as well as information and cyber warfare from the US, UK, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Belarus as well as NATO headquarters, Baltic Defence College and NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The workshop was organized in the framework of a larger AEI project on countering “shaping operations”, which also investigates similar strategies and policies of Iran and China.