By Maarten Toelen, this essay won third place in the Atlantic Forum x Stability Policing COE Essay Competition.
Approaches used in hybrid warfare, such as sabotage, deception, and propaganda have long been used to subvert adversaries. The new thing about these methods in recent times is their intensity, scale, and speed, which is facilitated by universal interconnectivity with swift technological change.
NATO Stability Policing has a pivotal role in countering these threats or warfare and stands ready to shield its Allies against any form of threat. Providing stabilization and reconstruction missions, there exist six roles the NATO Stability Policing plays in countering hybrid threats or warfare. These roles are nothing else but:
- Creating a safe and secure environment (SASE) with freedom of movement,
- Establishing conditions for long-term governance and development,
- Reinstating public order and security,
- Facilitating humanitarian assistance, and
- Restoring basic utilities and infrastructure.
- Providing situational awareness through the NATO’S Joint Intelligence and Security branch of hybrid analysis.
A safe and secure environment plays a major role in NATO Stability Policing activities. It allows the remaining five roles of Stability Policing to proceed with simplicity when countering hybrid warfare or threats. However, instituting a stable and secure environment for the local population is key to achieving their support and cooperation. It helps control subversive behavior, defeat insurgents, and limits the effects of adversary actions.
In addition, the NATO Stability policing activities are police-related. Its role is to temporarily replace and/or strengthen the indigenous or local police. This helps uphold the rule of law and contributes to the protection of human rights. In other words, the NATO Stability Policing focuses on assisting, supporting, and temporarily replacing the indigenous police not willing or unable to perform their functions and duties during hybrid warfare or threats.
In a nutshell, NATO Stability Policing's role in countering hybrid threats is to stabilize the situation and reduce its level of violence. This will help create a stable and secure environment, reinstate public order and security, and establish superb conditions of governance and development through the provision of its military forces with unique competence in civil policing.