Symposium in Finland brings industry and experts together to strengthen NATO’s responses to hybrid threats

  • 12 Dec. 2023 - 13 Dec. 2023
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  • Last updated: 15 Dec. 2023 16:12

Allied experts and representatives met with industry at the NATO Hybrid Symposium in Helsinki, Finland to address the challenges posed by adversarial use of hybrid tools (12-13 December 2023). At the two-day event, members of NATO’s Counter Hybrid Support Teams (CHST) convened for a training session, boosting the Alliance’s ability to respond to challenges and strengthening cooperation in the hybrid community. The Symposium also had a session with private sector representatives, to look at further collaboration between NATO and the private sector.

David Van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges with Elina Valtonen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland

“NATO remains the unique and indispensable forum to consult, coordinate and act on hybrid threats. We see authoritarian actors increasingly interfering in our democratic processes and institutions. In fact, we see them targeting the security of our citizens through hybrid tactics on a daily basis. Our discussions at the symposium therefore focused on how to better prepare for, deter, and defend against this coercive use of political, economic, energy, information and other hybrid tactics.” said David Van Weel, Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. 

In response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Allies are strengthening their national resilience against hybrid threats and improving their ability to understand the hybrid threat landscape, including strategies used by Russia and China. Russia seeks to destabilise Allied democracies through implementing hybrid campaigns that involve cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns and energy blackmail, as well as in recent months, its use of migrants against Finland. In Vilnius, NATO leaders addressed China’s ambitious and opaque military developments, its technological advances, and its malicious cyber and hybrid activities, confrontational rhetoric and disinformation.

This is the first time that the symposium has been hosted in person. The event was co-organised with Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. 

“We are proud of this opportunity to host the NATO Hybrid Symposium in Finland. The theme of the event is very topical. NATO has a key role in countering hybrid activities.”, said Foreign Minister Valtonen. 

Finland also hosts the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki. The Centre serves as a hub of expertise, assisting participating countries in improving their civil-military capabilities, resilience and preparedness to counter hybrid threats. Inaugurated in October 2017, the Centre is hosted by the Finnish Government and is supported by 35 other countries, as well as NATO and the EU.