Doc Dr Mikael Weissmann

Land Warfare | Urban Warfare | Hybrid Threats and Foreign Interference| Intelligence Analysis | Russian Warfare & Influence | China | Asia

New book on Russian Warfare and Influence

Our new book Russian Warfare and Influence: States in the Intersection between East and West by Bloomsbury Academic is out now! Buy it here or download it for free .

The book addresses the vulnerabilities of these countries to Russian influence and hybrid warfare tactics, as well as their responses to this security challenge. It includes a close examination of local developments in states such as Ukraine, Belarus, Finland, Armenia, Serbia and many others, analysing specific scenarios and practices, and draws on these observations to develop the current conceptual understanding of hybrid warfare as a phenomenon. Scholarship frequently focuses only on Russia and treats countries subjected to Russian hybrid measures as passive victims, thus providing an overly schematic picture of Russian behaviour. This book instead treats these states as actors in their own right, assessing their potential to address and counter the specific security problems arising from their geographic and political position.

Table of Contents

1. Russian warfare and influence: States in the proximity of Russia
Mikael Weissmann and Niklas Nilsson

2. Is it still hybrid? Russian aggression against Ukraine
Hanna Shelest

3. Does Russia need a hybrid Belarus policy?
Grigory Ioffe

4. Russia’s influence operations in the Baltic states
Janis Berzinš

5. The vulnerable little brother: Opportunistic partnership and Serbia’s exposure to Russia’s spoiler tactics
Vuk Vuksanovic

6. ‘Kosovo is Serbia’: A case study unpacking how Russia advances (shared) Russian and Serbian interests in the Balkans by shaping perceptions on Kosovo
Dorthe Bach Nyemann

7. Beyond cyber and disinformation: Russian hybrid warfare tactics in Georgia
Kornely Kakachia and Shota Kakabadze

8. Russia’s utilization of unresolved conflicts and proxy regimes
Niklas Nilsson, Johan Engvall and Mikael Weissmann

9. A diverse picture of Russian warfare and influence
Niklas Nilsson and Mikael Weissmann

New report: Building Resilience and Psychological Defence

My latest report published by the Psychological Defence Research Institute’s Working Paper series is now available: Building Resilience and Psychological Defence.

It outlines an analytical framework, guidebook, and template addressing six dimensions of hybrid threats and foreign influence and interference from a nation-state perspective. Acknowledging that these types of threats are complex and multifaceted, it is intended to be an analytical starting point for government and non-government actors.

Co-authored with Björn Palmertz, Niklas Nilsson and Johan Engvall.

Full text available here:

Staff Ride Handbook

The Department of Military History of the Swedish Defence University has just published an English translation of the Staff Ride Handbook that was published last year. The handbook outlines the historical background of staff rides and outlines how to best plan and conduct a staff ride. The handbook also discusses the pedagogical and practical aspects of staff rides. Here a schematic model is presented on the pedagogical dynamics of a staff ride as regards various target groups, based on their understanding and the varying complexities of staff rides. The handbook also provides a pedagogical toolbox for staff rides.

The handbook can be downloaded here: Staff Ride Handbook: planning and conducting Staff Rides.

New article: Current Intelligence and Assessments: Information Flows and the Tension between Quality and Speed

Just out in International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, article on “Current Intelligence and Assessments: Information Flows and the Tension between Quality and Speed”.

This article takes a particular interest in the dynamics between information flows, continuous ongoing assessments, intelligence dissemination, and forward-looking operational advice. The point of departure is the tension between balancing quality (in the sense of in-depth processing of large amounts of information) and speed (meeting requirements of timeliness) in current intelligence assessments. The article takes an explorative approach to practices in current intelligence, utilizing qualitative interview data combined with open source material.

Tentative Field Study – the Battle of Ortona and Four Perspectives on Urban Warfare

On 3-7 January 2024 Major Jonas Björkqvist (Land Operations Division) and I conducted a tentative field study studying the Battle of Ortona 1943 and Orsogna, Villa Rogatti och Sterlin Castle. The aim is to enhance the inclusion of urban warfare in our teaching, staff ride & wargame repertoire. The study is part of curriculum development projects for the Swedish Officers Program and the Joing Higher Command and Staff program.

We are now working on a staff ride field guide with the title The Battle of Ortona: Four Perspectives on operations in urban terrain to be published later this year.

Major Björkqvist is also developing a new card-driven map-based war game on the Battle of Ortona to be used in connection with future staff ride to Ortona as part of Professional Military Education (PME) with a focus in particular on officer cadets and senior officers.

Seminar on Tactile Teaching Methods in Higher Education

On 14 November Major Jonas Björkqvist and myself presented on our approach to tactile teaching methods in practical and scenario-based exercises and examinations at the Swedish Defence University seminar on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Study Tour to Georgia with the Higher Joint Command and Staff Programme 11-20 Oct 2023

On 11-20 Oct 2023 we undertook a study tour to Georgia with our Advanced Course on Ground Tactics in the Higher Joint Command and Staff Programme. During this week we met with our Georgian counterpart and key institutions in Tbilisi. We also visited the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) to learn more about their work.

Attending conference on Psychological Defence

On 10-11 October I attended a research conference organised by the Psychological Defence Research Institute at Lund University. I participated in a panel on the role of narratives in information influence and disinformation.

Staff Ride Op. Market Garden & Op. Veritable with Land Operations Division of the Swedish Defence University

On 18-21 September Major Jonas Björkqvist (Land Operations Division), Patrik Wiklund (Military History Division) and I led a Staff Ride to the Netherlands and Germany studying Operation Market Garden and Operationn Veritable. This tour was part of the skill development of the Land Operations Division at the Swedish Defence University. Besides studying the two operations, the aim was to test a new pedagogical approach to Staff Rides and to study the new Swedish Army Tactical Regulations.

Visiting Fellow at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP)

From 17 June to 16 August, I will be a Visiting Fellow at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) in Belgrade, Serbia. During my stay, I will conduct fieldwork for a range of projects across the Balkans with a focus on Serbia, Hungary and North Macedonia. I will also do pre-recognisance for future Staff Rides and battlefield tours.

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