In the past decade, technological advancements have accelerated exponentially, changing the nature of communication, political strategy, and defense. Despite a wide range of improvements in conventional security and weapons systems, arguably providing a significant an unprecedented level of physical security against traditional attacks in most developed countries, these advancements have catalysed a new era of hybrid warfare and unconventional attacks.
These terms generally connote the use of irregular tactics, such as cyber, economic, psychological, and disinformation attacks to exploit an enemies' weakness, and potentially preempt or support a conventional attack. This changing nature of warfare and security has contributed to a rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape, disrupting traditional power balances, long-standing alliances, multilateral institutions, and international organisations.
The BIC prides itself in provocatively challenging conventional strategies, especially those which have outgrown their usefulness. This project takes critical aim at yesterday's approaches to security and defence, with a view towards developing proactive solutions to the evolving nature of insecurity and hybrid warfare.
In line with its research methodology, BIC will source first-hand research through its extensive coding process, and use both qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate the impacts of new trends - such as disinformation campaigns, cyber warfare, climate challenges, and geopolitical factors - on the various social, political and economic drivers of conflict and instability. In order to bring added value, and build on the substantial body of discourse on the topic, BIC researchers will apply this analytical lens across three specific themes.
The first theme will assess how the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy should adapt to foster the flexibility, cooperation, and coherence needed to address 21st century challenges. This theme will weigh the impact of broad ambitions for ‘European Strategic Autonomy,’ and consider how the EU should strengthen cooperation with NATO and other emerging powers, while simultaneously guaranteeing self-determination.
The second theme will concentrate on new trends in Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention, analysing the increasing impact of disinformation campaigns, geopolitical proxy influences, and economic warfare on mediating post-conflict situations and pursuing transitional justice.
The third theme will focus on identifying and exploring Transnational Challenges to Water and Energy, as well as the growing intersectionality between climate and conflict, and developing locally tailored solutions to reduce risks.