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In an age of hybrid, grey zone, 4th generation or threshold warfare, our defence cannot exist solely of armed forces. Governments, business and civil society should also work together to strengthen our resilience against existing and emerging threats. Together with the armed forces’ capabilities, such societal resilience can function as a crucial deterrent.
Countries in Europe and North America have, over generations, developed impressive deterrence by means of military punishment. But the emergence of hybrid warfare, where threats and attacks are directed at the private sector and civil society at large, puts countries a situation where deterrence by military punishment is not enough. What is needed, then, is modern deterrence: a combination of traditional military deterrence by military punishment and deterrence by societal resilience.
During the Cold War, Scandinavian countries developed the concept of Total Defence, in effect an early version of modern deterrence. Today those countries, and to some extent the Baltic states, maintain partial versions of total defence. No country has, however, developed a complete modern deterrence model. It is imperative that we do so.
The Modern Deterrence project’s research -- informed by practitioners – aims to generate a new body of knowledge that will be vital to governments, the private sector and civil society. It also serves as hub where practitioners from these sectors exchange best practices and new ideas.