Strategic Stability: Deterrence and Arms Control

Deterrence and arms control are often perceived to be in contradiction with one another, but they are in fact complementary. Deterrence is raising the costs and risks of unwanted actions by an adversary to dissuade them from taking those actions; arms control is finding common ground between adversaries on which costs and risks are acceptable and how states can achieve strategic stability. Questions of deterrence and arms control have become more complicated over the past decade, driven by intensified geopolitical competition in Asia and Europe, by emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities, or refinements in existing technologies, such as ballistic, hypersonic, and cruise missiles. Unlike the bipolar Cold War, the US would now have to find common ground with both Russia and China. How Europe can shape a reinvigorated arms control regime is an open question, but one which HCSS seeks to answer in our Deterrence and Arms Control programme.

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Influencing Human Behaviour

For as long as wars have occurred, information has been a vital in shaping outcomes on the battlefield. In recent years, the role of information in conflict only gained importance, as information and communication technologies advance and cognitive psychology evolve. With the ever-larger and more evasive employment of information-based capabilities to target human cognition, boundaries between the battlefield and beyond have fade. To further discussions on and advance our understanding of the use of information to influence behaviours in the military context, the Royal Netherlands Army has commissioned the Platform Influencing Human Behaviour.

Hybrid Threats

Hybrid threats pose a dangerous challenge to liberal Western democracies, who for too long have been complacent when it comes to dealing with contemporary hybrid adversaries. Hybrid threats denotes a spectrum of objectionable activities ranging from violent to non-violent in both the military and civil domain. The key to countering hybrid threats is through the development of international norms of behaviour. At HCSS, we monitor and analyse the evolving threat landscape, and develop new concepts and strategies to counter hybrid threats and assist government and IGOs.  

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