The Czech Republic will work to reduce its strategic dependence on countries with different ideological and value orientations, according to the country’s national strategy to address hybrid action, which will be discussed by the government today.
The strategy defines hybrid action as a hidden and overt activity of states and so-called non-state actors, which is directed against vulnerable parts of a democratic state and society. These states use various means to achieve their goals, from political and military to economic and intelligence gathering, some of which may be illegal. Through their actions, the actors try to blur the boundaries between peace, crisis, and conflict and strive to remain hidden and ambiguous.
For example, they use existing social divisions for their goals, which they work to deepen. They may seek, for example, to slow down the political decision-making process, weaken citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions, disrupt economic processes, or gain influence in strategic companies. They can also try to covertly influence political parties, courts, the police, or the media.
The strategy warns that hybrid action may take advantage of the Czech Republic’s dependence on oil, natural gas, or nuclear fuel supplies from abroad.
“Hybrid operation can also be reflected through the use of modern technologies and technological solutions, such as 5G networks or artificial intelligence, originating from countries with different ideological-value orientations, and the private sector,” the strategy states.
According to the document, the threat of a direct military attack on the Czech Republic is low. The more substantial threat to the Euro-Atlantic area, and thus also to Czechia, is hostile hybrid action. The strategy document shows that the Czech Republic is already facing hybrid threats.
“The state actors who have been using hybrid action against the Czech Republic for a long time and systematically are mainly authoritarian and revisionist powers with regional or even global power aspirations,” the document states.
Because hybrid action is complex, the state must face it with a societal approach. The goal of the strategy is to create a resilient society and a state that can deal with it. Therefore, the ability to detect hybrid activities in a timely manner should be strengthened.
The strategy seeks to use a “robust and transparent foreign investment screening system” in strategic sectors of the economy and key enterprises.
“The Czech Republic will reduce its strategic dependence on countries with different ideological-value orientations. Such dependence could be abused in acting against the interests of the Czech Republic,” the strategy says.
The issue of facing hybrid action is to become part of educational programs and awareness-raising events. The strategy also envisages building a system of strategic communication, which should pass information to people in a timely and credible manner, even in crises.
It also promises the creation of a coordinator of the agenda. At the beginning of the year, Czech Radio informed that it should be Petr Matouš, a military adviser to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Title image: Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis walks to address the media after meeting with Czech President Milos Zeman at the Prague Castle, Czech Republic, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)