‘Comprehensive Resilience’: CORE model counters hybrid threats to democracies


Hybrid threats pose a specific danger to democracies, because they target core democratic processes and weaken citizens’ trust in their institutions and governments. And they are expected to grow in frequency, impact, and scale as authoritarian regimes and non-state actors employ hybrid tools to achieve their hostile, strategic objectives, as the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) and The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE) outline in the recent report Hybrid threats: a comprehensive resilience ecosystem

To defend democracies from hybrid threats effectively it is necessary to analyze society in a comprehensive manner, because different parts of society are interconnected, meaning that attacks in one area also affect other areas. Hybrid threat actors usually target less resilient areas or “domains” of society as entry points for large-scale cascade effects, potentially leading to systemic failures, the authors observe.

A ‘Comprehensive Resilience Ecosystem’ (CORE) model offers a systems-thinking approach to help policymakers counter even complex hybrid threats, based on a ‘whole-of-society’ approach: it considers different “spaces” of society (e.g., governance, civic, services), different “levels” (international, national, and local), and their interactions.

Specifically, the CORE model:

  • maps how malicious actors use various tools against different domains to reach their target;
  • helps detect hostile activities and their intensity;
  • monitors affected dependencies to avoid possible cascading effects;
  • facilitates the anticipation of damage to our democracies; and
  • assesses impacts of possible hybrid attacks and campaigns.


The International Forum’s newly relaunched Power 3.0 Podcast explores how new forms of authoritarian influence are reshaping the contest over democratic values. Jakub Kalensky of the European Centre for Excellence of Countering Hybrid Threats discussed Ukrainian resilience against Russian disinformation and shares his ideas for how democracy defenders can retake the initiative in the information space. LISTEN HERE.

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