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Towards a typology of non-state actors in ‘hybrid warfare’: proxy, auxiliary, surrogate and affiliated forces

Rauta, V. (2020) Towards a typology of non-state actors in ‘hybrid warfare’: proxy, auxiliary, surrogate and affiliated forces. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 33 (6). pp. 868-887. ISSN 1474-449X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09557571.2019.1656600


This article presents a typology of armed non-state actors in hybrid warfare: proxy, auxiliary, surrogate and affiliated forces. By focusing on the kinetic domain of hybrid warfare, the article offers a corrective to a debate that has so far ignored variation in roles and functions of non-state actors and their relationships with states and their regular forces. As a denominator, ‘hybrid’ identifies a combination of battlespaces, types of operations—military or non-kinetic—and a blurring of actors with the scope of achieving strategic objectives by creating exploitable ambiguity. However, there has been a disproportionate focus on what hybrid war supposedly combines across battlespaces and domains (socio-political, economic, informational), at the expense of who and how. Using the Ukrainian crisis as a theory-building exercise, the article suggests a four-category schema that identifies non-state actor functions as a tool to better represent the complex franchise of violence that is found nested next to non-military operations in hybrid activity. In so doing, the article speaks to a call for better conceptualization the role of non-state violent actors in civil war, in general, and in hybrid warfare, in particular.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:86256
Uncontrolled Keywords:Political Science and International Relations
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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