Deterrence as a security concept against non-traditional threats
Frans-Paul van der Putten, Minke Meijnders & Jan Rood


The main question in this part of the Clingendael Monitor 2015 concerns the extent to which deterrence, as a security concept and instrument, can in the coming five to ten years be a relevant and effective way of protecting Dutch security interests against international, non-traditional threats.[1] The 2010 report ‘Defensieverkenningen’ already noted the continuing importance of deterrence as a means of discouraging “activities that run counter to the security interests of the Kingdom and the international rule of law”.[2] The focus was on deterrence in the form of establishing the prospect of credible retaliatory action against current, particularly military threats. Such action could include the use, in a NATO context, of conventional and nuclear assets. However, also the report observed that, in a global context, many threats are now not military in nature or are at any rate not immediately military in nature. It was therefore argued that a long-term approach to deterrence as an instrument is required, one that focuses on both current military threats and new and future threats of a different nature.

These non-traditional threats differ from traditional security threats in that the latter tend to be characterised by the visible use of military assets by a foreign state actor for the purpose of seriously undermining the national security of the Netherlands and/or its military allies. Due to the absence of clearly recognisable aspects associated with military and state intervention, non-traditional threats are both hybrid and diffuse. In concrete cases where a non-traditional threat has been initiated by a state actor, it may be advisable to view this threat in interrelation with possible traditional threats initiated by the same state actor.

Previous editions of the Clingendael Monitor confirm the existence of a more varied range of security threats to the Netherlands and its partners and allies.[3] In addition to the remaining possibility of hostile military action, the ‘new’ threats include cyber threats, religious terrorism, crime, and so on. This greater variety in the range of threats is the main reason that this study discusses the importance and effectiveness of deterrence as a means of countering the threats referred to in the light of future developments in this area.

Based on the conclusions of previous editions of the Clingendael Monitor, this study focuses on five main categories of threat and analyses the applicability of deterrence as an instrument in the context of each area. The focus is particularly on the international dimension of these threats, in other words, on threats that could affect the Netherlands through the international sphere in addition to the national sphere. The five main areas of threat selected for this study are as follows:

Threats in the cyber domain;


Organised crime;

Threats in the economic domain;

Ambiguous warfare.

These main areas of threat are discussed in terms of the following three subquestions:

What is the current situation with respect to the area of threat under consideration?

To what extent is the area of threat under consideration relevant to Dutch national security for the coming five to ten years?

In what way is deterrence as a security concept relevant to the protection of national security with regard to the area of threat under consideration?

This report summarises the key findings and conclusions of the exploratory analyses carried out on the basis of these questions and set out in the appendices.[4] At present, only a limited amount of literature is available on the subject of deterrence in relation to non-traditional security threats, both in a general sense and more specifically in terms of relevance to the Netherlands. This report must therefore be seen as an initial delineation of the field. In addition, the paucity of practical examples of successful or unsuccessful implementations of deterrence instruments that are of relevance to the Netherlands means that this study is more theoretical in nature and is not really aimed at presenting concrete policy options.

The concept of deterrence as used in this study will first be described in greater detail and placed in a historical perspective, after which a summary of the key findings and conclusions is presented. This summary is followed by an analysis of Dutch security interests and an outline of the global and regional context in which this study must be viewed. After these introductory sections, the report discusses current threats to Dutch security and which developments are expected in the next five to ten years. The concluding section provides an indication of the relevance of deterrence as a security concept in terms of the five main areas of threat. This report does not go into the question whether putting specific deterrence measures into practice is cost-effective or desirable from a political or social standpoint.

Together with ‘A world without order?’, the summary report, and a forthcoming study on economic vulnerability, this study constitutes the Clingendael Monitor 2015. The Clingendael Monitor is published each year as part of the Strategic Monitor of the Dutch government.


An approach aimed at preventing an actor who is planning to seriously harm the national security interests of the Netherlands from actually performing the harmful act or acts by influencing his or her assessment of costs and gains.

Deterrence has a long history in the context of maintaining law and order and as a military strategy. It became a tenet in the international security environment of the Cold War as a response to the existence of nuclear weapons. The concept has since been further developed in both academic and policy terms.

Deterrence is aimed at discouraging undesirable behaviour. The definition of deterrence used in this study is as follows:

Only measures deliberately aimed at discouraging would-be perpetrators and/or their facilitators (individuals who provide support and thereby make it possible for perpetrators to carry out their attack) form part of a deterrence strategy. Deterrence can be aimed at increasing the costs for the would-be perpetrator or at reducing the gains that the would-be perpetrator could achieve. A further distinction can be made in this context between direct and indirect deterrence measures.

The following framework of analysis is used in this report with respect to the various forms that deterrence can take.

Measures aimed at emphasising/increasing the costs that the would-be perpetrator must take into account:

Measures aimed at reducing the gains that the would-be perpetrator could achieve:


Convincing the would-be perpetrator that an attack or harmful act of any kind will trigger retaliatory action.

Reducing the opportunity to carry out an attack by visibly increasing the number and/or quality of security measures and increasing the operational risks to the perpetrator (reducing an attack’s probability of success).


Convincing the would-be perpetrator that a substantial investment is required for an attack.

Convincing the would-be perpetrator that performing the harmful act or acts will not contribute to achieving the intended objective (reducing the gains that can be achieved if an attack is successful).

Communication with the potential perpetrator is central to an effective deterrence policy: ultimately, it is about influencing the would-be perpetrator’s assessment and, in this context, making it less attractive to perform the act or acts intended to cause harm. In other words, for a deterrence policy to work, communication about the measures that may be taken must reach the potential perpetrator and must be deemed to be credible by him or her. A deterrence policy is based on the knowledge or suspicion that certain actors intend to perform acts that harm national security. To formulate the policy, it is therefore necessary to know who the potential perpetrators are. It is also necessary to be aware of their interests, motives and the resources at their disposal.

Developments in the thinking on deterrence in the context of international security

Current thinking on deterrence as an instrument for state actors to counter security threats at the international level is strongly informed by the development of nuclear weapons since the 1940s and is directly related to the bipolar world order in which the Soviet Union and the United States maintained an uneasy peace based on mutually assured destruction (MAD). The nuclear strategy of second strike capability - that is, a power’s assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with a nuclear strike of its own - was a mainstay of the status quo at the time.


Political scientist Robert Jervis refers to three waves in the thinking on deterrence[5] The first wave in deterrence theory started immediately after the Second World War, when writers such as Bernard Brodie concluded that the invention of the atomic bomb had fundamentally altered the nature of war. Brodie was of the opinion that a strategic revolution had taken place. Whereas before it had been about winning wars, preventing wars now had become the essential aim. According to Brodie, this strategic revolution had occurred because of the possibility of total destruction inherent in the use of nuclear weapons, which meant that defeating an adversary would serve no or virtually no purpose. The logical implication was that, when faced with an adversary that had nuclear weapons, a state could no longer protect itself on the basis of military superiority.

The second wave came against the backdrop of the Cold War. The strategic concept of nuclear deterrence was further developed using game theory and other methods. Thomas Schelling was one of the first to classify war as a bargaining process in which opponents attempt to influence each other’s expectations and intentions by means of threats, promises and action.[6] He saw war as the art of deterrence, coercion and intimidation. In this context, he believed that nuclear weapons were sooner suited for punitive action than for conquering enemy territory. To make deterrence credible, the different phases of the escalation ladder had to be completely clear in order to limit a potential war to a certain phase (escalation control). At the same time, to achieve a deterrent effect, the phases had to remain undefined to a sufficient degree in order to exclude the risk of an actual war. In this view, a degree of uncertainty regarding the escalation process is necessary for effective deterrence.[7]

The third wave came in the 1960s and 1970s as criticism of deterrence theory as it had developed up to that time. Statistical data and case studies were used to empirically test the theory. In addition, deterrence of the second wave was considered to be too apolitical. The third-wave thinkers were of the opinion that deterrence had to be viewed in the political and geopolitical context in which the concept was being applied. According to these experts, second-wave deterrence theory did not adequately examine the underlying problems that had resulted in a crisis and how the crisis might have been prevented. In addition, in their view, not enough attention was devoted to the process of compromising, while most conflicts are ended when the parties involved agree to a compromise. Finally, the third-wave thinkers disputed the assumption that actors act rationally, a core assumption of the second wave. They questioned the extent to which leaders remain rational in the heat of battle.

In the following decades, deterrence thinking initially continued to focus mainly on traditional conflict between states. Gradually, however, a new view on the applicability of deterrence emerged.[8] In contrast to earlier theories, non-traditional threats became a primary focus of the thinking on deterrence. This approach forms part of the fourth wave, which came against the backdrop of the end of the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the 9/11 attacks of 2001. Deterrence was no longer viewed only in the light of nuclear weapons and conventional war. It was considered in relation to a much broader range of threats, including violent non-state actors and asymmetric warfare. The main question was whether deterrence could also be used against non-traditional threats such as terrorism, piracy and cyber attacks.

According to Jeffrey Knopf and other authors of the fourth wave, deterrence is also relevant in this context, though only as just one of the various instruments that are available. Deterrence therefore no longer has the central role that it had during the Cold War. Knopf believes that deterrence must continuously be adapted to the specific threat that it is being used to counter and must be based on a detailed study of the adversary. Strategic cultural awareness of the adversary is essential.

Much of the literature on deterrence and non-traditional threats concerns the United States or the international level more generally. This study explores how deterrence can be relevant against threats in the specific case of the Netherlands.

National security and the international context

Dutch security interests and external threats

This study considers the extent to which deterrence is a relevant instrument for the protection of Dutch security interests. What are these national security interests and to what extent are they actually or potentially at risk because of the external threats discussed in this study? Maintaining the territorial integrity of the Netherlands – that is, guaranteeing its continued existence as an independent state – is a primary or vital security interest. In addition to this primary interest, the Dutch National Security Strategy includes four other vital security interests: economic security, environmental security, physical security and social and political stability.[9] Economic security means the ability to function without disruption as an effective and efficient economy. Environmental security concerns ensuring a safe natural living environment. Physical security concerns the ability of individuals and groups of individuals to function safely within society. Social and political stability is about maintaining a social climate in which the core values of democracy and the rule of law are observed.

As a relatively small country with an open democratic system and a country that is in many ways, especially financially and economically, strongly intertwined with the European and global system, the Netherlands is by definition vulnerable to external developments and threats. As also shown by previous editions of the Strategic Monitor,[10] the primary threat to the Netherlands is not the risk of a direct attack by another state on Dutch territory. That risk is still considered to be extremely low. Dutch involvement in territorial conflicts elsewhere is a possibility, however, though this involvement would be based on alliance commitments in the context of NATO and the duties to assist within the European Union (EU). The probability of such involvement has increased, particularly as a result of Russian action in the eastern part of Europe. Nevertheless, the threats discussed in this study indicate that the greatest dangers to the Netherlands are not military, or at any rate not directly military in nature. The threats are hybrid and transnational in nature, ranging from returning foreign fighters, crime and cybercrime, the disruptive effects of migration and financial and economic shocks to climate change and the risk of pandemics. Moreover, the Monitor 2015 shows that today’s unsettled world order, which is mainly the result of increasing instability in the immediate neighbourhood of the EU and therefore of the Netherlands, has made a number of these threats more acute.

Within this varied range of threats, this study focuses in particular on the threats posed by terrorism, organised crime, vulnerabilities in the cyber domain, economic vulnerability and ambiguous warfare. It is clear that all of these phenomena may threaten the national security interests referred to. Organised criminal activity in the cyber domain can adversely affect Dutch economic security, which can likewise be undermined by international tensions, the implementation of economic sanctions and instability in regions and areas of importance to the Netherlands. Political and social stability and physical security can come under pressure as a result of organised terrorism – due to its polarising effect on society, among other things – and as a result of organised crime. Finally, there is the threat of ambiguous warfare. Although this phenomenon does not directly endanger the territorial security of the Netherlands, it is a potential threat to the territorial security of partners and allies which were referred to earlier. Moreover, where ambiguous warfare involves the use of propaganda, cyber and other tools to undermine the status quo, it can certainly pose a threat to political and social stability.

Protecting national security is primarily a responsibility of the Dutch government. Because of their respective natures and origins, however, threats to national security can in many cases only be effectively countered and neutralised through cooperation with others. In this sense, the security interests of the Netherlands as listed above can be referred to as extended interests in that they are interests that the Netherlands shares with other countries and which the Netherlands can only successfully protect in cooperation with others. This need to cooperate applies to the most fundamental national interest, namely the protection of territorial integrity, for which the Netherlands depends on its allies. However, it also applies to the other security interests referred to in relation to the threats described.

To protect these interests, the Netherlands must therefore actively cultivate and engage in international cooperation within the EU, NATO, the UN or other international frameworks, preferably within an international legal order that guarantees global security and stability and safeguards the values and principles promoted by the Netherlands. It is only through such active engagement that the Netherlands can also exercise influence.

The global and regional context

Expectations for the coming five to ten years regarding the threats to Dutch society discussed in this study must also be seen in the light of broader regional and global developments in international security, stability and cooperation. As stated in the preceding section, the Netherlands is vulnerable to external developments and events. This means that a stable global system in which cooperation is the rule is of major importance to the Netherlands.

The Clingendael Monitor 2015 ‘A world without order?’ shows that developments that constitute an existing or potential threat to international security and stability and to the functioning of current frameworks for international cooperation are occurring at regional and global levels.[11] Partly as a result of a continuing global spread of power, tensions are increasing between the great powers, a process also referred to as ‘the return of geopolitics’. This is placing the existing multilateral system of cooperation and the international order associated with it under considerable pressure. At the same time, there is a strong interdependence between the key players, particularly in financial and economic terms. An important question for the coming period is therefore whether geopolitics will dominate global relations or whether interdependence will have a moderating effect. The most likely scenario for the coming five to ten years is an fusion of a more multipolar world with elements of a multilateral system, in other words, a world in which cooperation will be more dependent on relations between the great powers - the US and China in particular - and will be more ad hoc and therefore outside the formal frameworks of current international organisations. In short, the world order will be characterised by a mix of rivalry and cooperation, the latter to the extent that cooperation serves the interests of the major powers.

Beneath this global level there are signs of a complex regional pattern of relations. Three ‘hot spots’ are of particular relevance in terms of existing or potential threats. First, in East Asia, China’s regional ambitions are clashing with the role of the US as security provider for a number of countries in the region (among others, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) and therefore with the US role of ‘balancer’, i.e. as a counterweight to China’s political aspirations. The dynamics in this region and the further development of Sino-US relations in particular will to an important extent determine the nature of the global system.

Second, future developments in the security and political situations in the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa will be important. The serious destabilisation within this region has been amplified by the control gained by the Islamic State of certain parts of Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram’s operations in Nigeria and al-Shabaab’s operations in the Horn of Africa. In combination with the disintegration of countries such as Yemen, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic and an international community that is unable to adequately oppose these groups, further destabilisation seems likely as a result of, among other things, the further spread of destabilising and terrorist activities to other countries in the region and beyond. To the extent that this further destabilisation occurs, the external-internal security nexus means that there will be consequences for the Netherlands and its European partners in the form of terrorist threats, refugee flows, crime and so on.

The third hot spot is the eastern part of Europe, where an ambiguous conflict is taking place. The hostilities between Russia and Ukraine in particular will determine future relations on the European continent. A factor of decisive importance in this context is that Russia is no longer willing to accept the starting points of territorial integrity and recognition of sovereignty that crystallised in post-war Europe during the Cold War and especially in the years following the Cold War. In addition, Russia is turning its back on the West, particularly in terms of the values fostered by the EU, since these values are a potential threat to those in power in Moscow. The current situation as a whole, which includes feelings, whether manipulated or not, of frustration and humiliation and the likelihood of continuing economic decline, suggests a permanent risk of instability in the eastern part of Europe. The scope and intensity of Russian aggression are difficult to predict and will in part depend on the Western/European stance taken. The current form of ambiguous warfare and undermining of stability give Russian leaders ample scope to cause unrest in surrounding territories if they wish to do so. In any case, finding a new modus vivendi with Moscow will be one of the great challenges in the coming years for the EU/the West.

The broader context therefore shows an unsettled world order in which the territory of the EU is surrounded by a belt of instability or, in the words of The Economist, a ‘ring of fire’.[12] Above all, the associated range of threats is diffuse. Threats are often interrelated and frequently reinforce each other. Examples in this regard include criminal activities and abuse of the cyber domain, economic warfare conducted by means of cyber tools and espionage, and the use of the proceeds of crime to fund terrorist activities. These examples underline the fact that effective combating or deterrence requires an integrated approach, in other words, the availability and use of a broad range of assets. In addition, action will in many cases have to be taken in cooperation with other countries within the framework of the EU or NATO. Action must of course also be taken independently as and when possible. International cooperation is required because in many cases threats manifest themselves through the territories of other countries, because the Netherlands has committed itself to the protection of partners on the basis of agreements, and because the Netherlands is and will be too small on its own to act as an effective counterweight to state actors like Russia and China.

The five main areas of threat

There are different direct and indirect threats facing Dutch society. As stated, this study focuses on cyber threats, threats in the economic domain, terrorist threats, the threats posed by organised crime and the threats emanating from ambiguous warfare. Although these threats are not new in and of themselves, the way in which each threat manifests itself has changed. The threats are discussed in detail individually in separate appendices. This section provides an outline of the current situation and expectations for the coming five to ten years in terms of the nature of each threat and the way in which it will manifest itself in the coming period. It also discusses expected future developments. Each main area of threat concerns threats that could affect the Netherlands, at least in part, from abroad.

To start, the Netherlands faces terrorist threats. As a result of recent events in Paris and elsewhere, the threat of terrorist violence has become more palpable in the Netherlands. For some time already, the Dutch government has held the view that the likelihood of an attack in the Netherlands or on Dutch interests abroad is substantial. At the same time, the nature of the terrorist threat has changed in recent years in that religious extremism has increasingly become a driving force. In addition, terrorism has become considerably more transnational. Growing international and cross-border terrorist networks such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, al-Nusra and Islamic State (IS) render the threat more acute. The growing number of individuals who travel to unstable areas in the Middle East and North Africa – and the risk of them joining a jihadist group upon arriving there – poses a tangible threat to Dutch security when these foreign fighters return to the Netherlands. Foreign fighters from across the world are being attracted mainly by the civil war in Syria and the rise of IS. The Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) estimates that around 190 Dutch fighters have travelled to jihad areas. Of this total, approximately 35 have returned and 30 have been killed.[13] The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) believes the number to be even higher and estimates that there are approximately 200-250 Dutch foreign fighters.[14] The risk of an attack being carried out in the Netherlands by fighters who have returned from conflict zones (either on their own or as a group action) has increased. It must be noted in this regard that, as shown by the attacks in Paris and Canada, among others, sympathisers who remain at home also constitute a threat. Not all of the perpetrators of these attacks were fighters who had returned.

Terrorism is therefore not only a physical threat to individuals in the Netherlands and other countries. The main threat of terrorism lies in its potential to cause wider social unrest, which can in turn lead to further social polarisation between, and the radicalisation of, population groups. Given the permanent instability and ongoing conflicts in the MENA region and the spread of these conflicts to other areas, it is highly likely that there will be a permanent and possibly increasing terrorist threat to the Netherlands and its European partners. The MENA region, including Sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa and the Horn of Africa remain important operational areas for terrorist groups and therefore, in some cases, a breeding ground for terrorist activities on European territory. Combating the threat in the region themselves will remain difficult because of reluctance and a lack of unity within the international community on the one hand and because of the ability of these groups to embed themselves in societies or acquire an organised, quasi-state character (like IS and Boko Haram, for example) on the other. It is uncertain whether the terrorist threat will remain confined to this region. It cannot be ruled out that a further deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan will lead to a resurgence of threats emanating from that region. It is also imaginable that Russia may use terrorism as an instrument of ambiguous warfare.

Two additional risks underline the threat that will in the future emanate mainly from the MENA region: the attractiveness of the movements there to foreign fighters, with the increasing risk of the use of violence by returning jihadis, and, in addition, the mobilising effect that radicalisation and polarisation within Western/European societies can have on foreign fighters and home-grown terrorists. The danger must also be seen in the light of the effective propaganda that terrorist groups transmit through the internet and social media for the purpose of recruiting, undermining the status quo and radicalising.

Second, to an increasing degree, the Netherlands is faced with threats posed by the cyber domain. The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) views digital threats as being among the greatest threats currently facing the Netherlands.[15] Although the intensity and use of information and communication technology (ICT) has increased drastically in all sectors in recent years, security is lagging behind by some margin. The potential impact of a cyber attack is therefore considerable. According to the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), states (cyber espionage) and criminals (cybercrime) currently pose the largest threat.[16] Less of a threat is currently posed by terrorists, cyber vandals, hackers and script kiddies.[17] The purpose of cyber espionage is to obtain sensitive information of companies, citizens or the government about, for example, defence, foreign, economic or energy policy. According to the NCSC, the number of attacks carried out by other states has increased sharply, as well as the intensity and impact of the attacks. Cyber espionage and cybercrime are to an important extent aimed at the business sector and therefore cause considerable economic damage. It remains very difficult, however, to determine the exact amount of losses suffered. At the beginning of this year, for example, it became clear that an international digital bank robbery had taken place. No less than 100 banks in 30 different countries were targeted and the perpetrators managed to steal EUR 260 million.[18] Attacks carried out through the cyber domain can also be directly aimed at sabotaging the social and economic infrastructure. Such attacks can cause serious disruptions if successful. With economic hubs such as the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport, and with the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) being one of the most important internet exchanges in the world, the Netherlands is especially vulnerable to such attacks. These vulnerabilities may be exploited in situations of ambiguous warfare and conflict. The internet has also created new possibilities that could make the threat posed by criminals and terrorists more acute, including possibilities to offer merchandise and recruit sympathisers.

Although diffuse, the threat emanating from the cyber domain and the threat of organised crime will probably become greater for the Netherlands. The increase of cybercrime is primarily caused by the fast pace of developments in ICT, the increasingly easy access to this technology, and the increasing reliance of societies on uninterrupted ICT services. These factors make modern societies like the Netherlands more vulnerable to abuse of the cyber domain. Moreover, such abuse does not necessarily have to take place in the Netherlands to affect the country. Because of the international interconnectedness of all kinds of systems (satellites, financial transactions, etc.), the proper functioning of Dutch institutions could also be undermined by cyber attacks on other countries or non-Dutch agencies.

The two main threats of the cyber domain, cybercrime and cyber espionage, will in all likelihood become more acute in the future. Increasing cybercrime is partly a result of the low probability of getting caught and the easy access to ICT. Instances of cyber espionage will probably occur more frequently, also by friendly nations. On the one hand, this is related to the need to gather intelligence in response to threats like terrorism. On the other hand, it comes naturally in a world that is more strongly defined by geopolitical tensions and economic competition. The use of cyber capabilities will therefore not be limited to traditional industrial espionage. State-sponsored spying will also take place in the economic domain. The use of cyber capabilities in the context of ambiguous warfare will probably likewise increase.

Third, the Netherlands also has to deal with the threats posed by national and international organised crime. Organised crime manifests itself in many different ways. In its National Threat Assessment, the Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD) distinguishes between three categories of criminal phenomena: various illegal markets (drug trafficking, human trafficking or child pornography, for example), money laundering and fraud, and property crime (the police use this term to refer to ‘middle segment’ crimes like burglary and theft).[19] The nature of organised crime is closely linked to the geographic position and physical and digital infrastructure of the Netherlands and can best be described as ‘transit crime’.[20] Organised crime focuses on international trade. The Netherlands plays a major role in the international criminal market, particularly in terms of drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud, money laundering and cybercrime. As stated in the most recent Organised Crime Monitor, however, it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to determine the total damage that it causes because it also concerns intangible issues such as loss of reputation.[21]

Given its geographic position, the Netherlands will remain attractive to internationally operating criminals in the coming five to ten years. Organised crime will be a threat mainly to social and political stability. It can disrupt the functioning of the market, lead to a loss of confidence in trade and the financial sector, and harm the reputation of important economic hubs like Schiphol airport and the port of Rotterdam as safe points of transit. The more successful criminals are in establishing themselves in legitimate society through bribery and corruption, the greater the effect of organised crime will be. In addition, organised crime could also have negative economic effects through a broad range of activities, including in particular cybercrime, money laundering and all kinds of illegal transactions, that undermine confidence in the economy.

Developments outside the Netherlands are an important catalyst in this regard. Given the instability in the MENA region described above, there is a greater risk that refugee flows will be abused by human traffickers as a channel for the ‘export’ of terrorist activities. In any case, areas that lose effective forms of government control may become sources of criminal activity and may then serve as springboards from which criminal operations in Europe are launched. In view of the instability in the MENA region, this risk is becoming more acute. It must be noted in this regard that government authorities in parts of Latin America have lost control of certain areas of their respective territories to criminal groups as well.

Fourth, there are also threats to the Netherlands in the economic domain. The nature of these threats is closely linked to the Netherlands’ open and internationally oriented economy. The threats originate from a variety of actors (states, criminal organisations and terrorists) and also differ in terms of type. First, there is the possibility of explicit or implicit economic pressure. An example in this regard are the sanctions imposed by Russia last summer as a response to the European and US package of sanctions put in place following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Sanctions are being used more frequently as a way of asserting political pressure and are greater in scope and more effective than was the case in the past, mainly because of the high degree to which the Netherlands is interconnected with the international market. Second, the strategic economic policy of other states can, for instance if such policy is part of hybrid warfare, affect Dutch national security by limiting access to raw materials that are important to the Netherlands, for example. Third, instability in areas of importance to the Netherlands can have adverse effects, in terms of, for example, the supply of essential raw materials. . These threats mainly affect the economic security of the Netherlands. Finally, there are threats that emanate from the overlap between the economic and cyber domains. These threats can disrupt core economic processes, including power generation, communications, transport and monetary transactions, and so forth. This might not only have consequences for the Netherlands’ economic security, but could also potentially affect social stability in the country.

The expectation is that threats in the economic domain will not decrease in the future, not least because of the broader global context outlined above, which suggests a world that will become less ordered and less stable in the coming years. In cases where the Netherlands has an economic interest in a global system that is open and stable, especially in financial and economic terms, this interest will come under further pressure. In this more volatile world, particularly at regional level, the risk to direct Dutch interests in terms of free access to markets, the unhindered transport of goods by water and air, and the uninterrupted supply of energy and raw materials will be greater as a result of economic competition and political tensions (including sanctions), regional instability and conflicts, and possible domestic political unrest. Especially as regards the supply of raw materials and energy, the Netherlands in cooperation with its European partners depends on countries or regions with which relations are tense (Russia), regions that are unstable (MENA region) or countries whose long-term stability is far from certain (Saudi Arabia). This situation will most likely not improve in the foreseeable future.

Finally, there is a specific phenomenon that has recently garnered quite a bit of attention, namely ambiguous warfare. Warfare is ambiguous when one of the parties involved in the armed conflict takes covert action, conceals its identity, pretends to be a different party or wrongly denies that such action is directed against the adversary. Such action is often aimed at causing confusion and uncertainty, in respect of which the ability to deny responsibility is a key element to the perpetrator.[22]Exactly because of the use of advanced, modern technology and the high degree to which countries are interrelated, such warfare is now easier to conduct. It is also more effective and its impact is possibly greater. A state that is engaging in ambiguous warfare may make use of anonymised military assets, whether or not in combination with non-military means such as implicit economic pressure and cyber attacks. Large-scale information and propaganda campaigns and the provision of covert support to local proxy groups can contribute to the creation of uncertainty regarding the identity of the actor responsible for a certain action. One characteristic of this type of warfare is that the actor in question strives for deniability of its involvement, making it harder to justify counteraction. A current example of ambiguous warfare is Russia’s military action in Ukraine (see Box 1). The threat of ambiguous warfare is relevant to the Netherlands in terms of the functioning of the international legal system, the credibility of NATO and the EU as organisations that are crucial to our national security, and the danger of direct or indirect damage to our vital infrastructure as a result of ambiguous warfare.

The threat to the Netherlands and its European allies will in the future emanate mainly from Russia. It seems likely that Russia will maintain its current position and use all of the means at its disposal to try to influence its Near Abroad. This also implies attempts to divide the West by setting countries against each other or turning public opinion in favour of the Russian viewpoint. A variety of activities that form part of this kind of ambiguous warfare must therefore be taken into account. These activities may range from subtle economic sanctions or support, through propaganda, disinformation, political manipulation and influence, to direct activities carried out through the internet and other means aimed at undermining the status quo. For the Netherlands and the EU, the threat for the coming period will emanate primarily from Russia. There is a real chance that other countries will also realise the advantages of this kind of warfare and that it will therefore occur more frequently.

Russian soldiers at the military base in Perevalne
Russian soldiers at the military base in Perevalne, Ukraine, during the annexation of Crimea in March 2014.

Box 1 The crisis in Ukraine and ambiguous warfare

The hostilities in the eastern part of Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 focused attention on ambiguous warfare. According to Western analysts, Russia is playing a major role in East Ukraine and Crimea. The ‘little green men’ in Crimea turned out to be members of Russia’s special forces and naval infantry units, for example. In addition, an arsenal of weapons was provided to Ukrainian separatists with coordination and support from Moscow. The presence of artillery, tanks and advanced anti-aircraft missile systems in the eastern part of Ukraine seems to confirm the involvement of Russian troops. In the same vein, an increase in the number of violations of EU and NATO airspace by Russian military aircraft[23] the cyber attacks on and abductions in the Baltic states and the possible presence of a Russian submarine in Swedish waters have increased tensions between Russia and the West.


The relevance of deterrence as a security concept

The ways in which deterrence as a security concept is relevant to the five main areas of threat on which this report focuses are discussed below. The discussion is arranged according to the analysis framework introduced in the second section and is based on the exploratory analysis of each main area of threat. These exploratory analyses are included as appendices to this report.

Deterrence in relation to all five main areas of threat

The purpose of deterrence is to discourage potential perpetrators by influencing their assessment of costs relative to potential gains. If the expected costs associated with carrying out an act that is harmful to the Netherlands increase and/or the expected gains decrease, carrying out the act becomes less attractive to the would-be perpetrator. Therefore, where possible, measures that focus on both the costs side and the gains side constitute the most effective approach.

Regarding the main areas of threat discussed in this report, three forms of deterrence seem to be suitable in many cases. First, on the costs side, there is the threat of retaliation by legal, economic or military means. A harmful act is less attractive to carry out if a would-be perpetrator knows that such an act is highly likely to trigger undesirable retaliatory measures. Second, on the gains side, it is possible to increase society’s resilience, for instance by means of crisis management measures or other measures that strengthen the public’s confidence. Such measures reduce the effectiveness of attacks aimed at causing social unrest and therefore make them less attractive to the potential attacker. Third, it is possible to take additional security measures by investing in monitoring and in physical or technological barriers. Such measures can influence the assessment of costs relative to potential gains because they increase the investments that perpetrators must make, i.e. increase the costs that perpetrators must incur, and, in addition, reduce the probability of success, i.e. reduce the potential gains. The perception of the would-be perpetrator regarding the balance between costs and gains is decisive in all forms of deterrence. An essential part of all deterrence measures is therefore their visibility. In other words, communication about such measures must be very clear, because measures that are unknown to potential perpetrators cannot have a deterrent effect in relation to the specific target group.

Regarding the relevance of deterrence with respect to the different actors, it can be said that improved security applies in all cases. The relevance of retaliation and greater resilience differs per actor, however. As discussed in greater detail below and in the appendices, retaliation is less effective against terrorists and strengthening society’s resilience is less effective against criminals. The motives of the actors are the main variable in this regard. Actors who do not fear retaliation, such as terrorists, cannot be deterred by the threat of retaliatory action, just as investments to increase resilience will not have a deterrent effect on actors, such as criminals, who are not seeking to cause social disruption. In the case of state actors, the relevance of deterrence depends on the motives of the actor in question.

Finally, it must be noted that many of the means referred to below can serve several security purposes. In other words, they can also contribute to greater security in ways other than deterrence. This applies to investments in improved security or crisis management, for example. Even if they do not have a deterrent effect, such investments can help to limit the damage caused by attacks. What differs in this regard from the deterrence function is that the emphasis shifts from the perception of would-be perpetrators (does the visibility of additional security measures have a discouraging effect?) to the concrete operation of such measures (is an actual attack more difficult to carry out?).


Relevant actors

Individual terrorists/terrorist organisations;


Effect on the perception of costs

The effect of retaliatory threats is in many cases limited, since, due to their religious or political convictions, terrorists tend not to fear retaliation. Taking retaliatory measures can even be counterproductive because they can generate greater support for terrorists in the population groups from which they originate. The observable reinforcement or greater visibility of defence mechanisms such as the physical presence of security personnel or surveillance assets contributes to deterrence against terrorism because it forces perpetrators to make larger investments in preparing an attack.

Effect on the perception of gains

Measures aimed at reducing opportunities to carry out an act of terrorism or the probability of success of such an act constitute a relevant instrument of deterrence. Visible investments in defence mechanisms can therefore be important also on the gains side. In this case, it is not about the greater investment that perpetrators must make, which is the concern on the costs side. It is, rather, about the assessment that the probability of success is decreasing. Capabilities that visibly contribute to the early detection of attempts to launch attacks (intelligence services) can therefore deter terrorists. Convincing terrorists that acts of terrorism do not contribute to the objective that they are trying to achieve likewise has a certain deterrent effect. Counternarratives are a way of doing this or of reducing support for terrorists in their social environment. Another relevant method is visibly increasing resilience within society, for instance, in terms of being well prepared for emergency situations and in terms of public confidence in the functioning of the government. A resilient society is disrupted less quickly and acts of terrorism are therefore less meaningful. A high level of social resistance in terms of not being receptive to extremist or terrorist ideology can also influence terrorists’ assessments of potential gains.

Categories of possibly relevant instruments

Criminal law;

Physical and digital security;


Crisis management;

Deradicalisation policy;


Improved detection capabilities.


Relevant actors

States (including hackers directed by states);

Individual criminals/criminal organisations;

Individual terrorists/terrorist organisations.[24]

Effect on the perception of costs

The counterthreat of retaliation is limited in terms of effect because it can be difficult to identify the perpetrator of an attack (if the perpetrator wished to remain hidden) or even to detect the attack itself (if it concerns espionage). To identify a perpetrator and take retaliatory measures, it is often important to have the cooperation of the country in which the perpetrator is based. This cooperation will of course not be extended if state actors are carrying out the attacks. Retaliation in the context of cyber threats can include, among other things, prosecution and punishment (in the case of criminal actors) or economic sanctions (in the case of state actors). Moreover, a greater counter threat against state actors can be created using military means (conventional or cyber warfare). In April 2015, for example, the US government announced that it would retaliate, militarily if necessary, in the event of serious cyber attacks by other states on its national security.[25] The difficulty of determining a suitable degree of proportionality complicates retaliation, however. The observable improvement of defence mechanisms contributes to deterrence against cyber threats if this improvement results in higher costs in terms of money or time on the part of the perpetrator.

Effect on the perception of gains

Convincing politically motivated actors (states or terrorists) that they will not reach their objectives through carrying out cyber attacks contributes to deterrence. A relevant way of doing so is visibly increasing what is referred to as cyber resilience, for instance, by ensuring redundancy. This method may discourage cyber attacks that are carried out by states and aimed at causing disruption. It would be less effective against cyber attacks carried out for the purpose of espionage or the illegal amassing of assets, since any disruptive effects are not directly relevant to the perpetrator in such cases. In addition, visible investments in improved defences such as multi-layered firewalls, advanced encryption and authentication systems and so-called ‘honeypots’ are relevant if they lead would-be perpetrators to believe that the probability of success is lower.

Categories of possibly relevant instruments

Criminal law;

Cyber security (encryption and the like);

The ability to expose perpetrators;

Increasing cyber resilience.


Relevant actors

Individual criminals/criminal organisations;


Effect on the perception of costs

Deterrence by means of the threat of retaliation (prosecution and punishment) is relevant as a security concept against criminals. In addition, the threat of limited retaliation against individuals in the social environment of criminals (facilitators) may be relevant in the context of weakening the support that criminals receive from this environment. This support is often essential to criminals because they base their reputations and status on it. The threat of limited retaliation can include measures aimed at the financial interests of these facilitators, for instance, by seizing the property of the confidants and family members of convicted criminals. Retaliation can also be effective against facilitators who operate behind a legal façade in order to support an illegal objective. They have a reputation to lose and can be deterred by the threat of being openly associated with criminal activity. The application of deterrence by retaliation at international level usually requires the cooperation of the country in which the criminals or their facilitators are based. Strengthening defence mechanisms increases the costs required to perform criminal activities. Doing so is therefore a relevant, additional deterrence measure also with respect to criminals.

Effect on the perception of gains

It is unlikely that criminals can be convinced that the ultimate objective of harmful acts cannot be achieved. Deterrence by means of strengthening resilience therefore seems to be ineffective in this case. On the gains side, only measures aimed at reducing opportunities to carry out criminal activities or the probability of success of such activities constitute a relevant instrument of deterrence. Visible investments in defence mechanisms are a key element of this approach.

Categories of possibly relevant instruments

Criminal law;

Physical security;

Cyber security;

The ability to expose perpetrators.


Relevant actors


Individual criminals/criminal organisations;

Individual terrorists/terrorist organisations.

Effect on the perception of costs

Deterrence by means of the threat of retaliation (economic sanctions) is relevant as a security concept against state actors that pose a threat in the economic domain. This form of deterrence is also relevant in the case of criminal organisations that do so. The effectiveness of the threat with sanctions as a means of retaliation is substantially greater if it is made in a multilateral context. Targeted sanctions (smart sanctions) can be more effective or have fewer harmful side effects than broad sanctions. It seems unlikely, however, that the threat of a foreign consumer boycott could be deterred by means of retaliation as a counter threat if the boycott concerned was initiated by social organisations and individuals rather than state actors. As is the case with the other main areas of threat, better defence mechanisms are relevant in the economic domain in the case of attacks by criminals or terrorists. Increasing the likelihood of damage to the perpetrator’s reputation can also have a deterrent effect on state actors. For this specific kind of deterrence to work, however, there must be clear standards that are violated by states when they threaten the security of other states such as the Netherlands in the economic domain.

Effect on the perception of gains

If states are seeking to exert pressure by causing economic or social disruption through action in the economic domain, undermining the idea that this objective is achievable can contribute to deterrence. Having alternatives is an example in this regard. A relevant way of doing so is visibly increasing resilience. Visible investments in defence mechanisms, such as better internet security in the case of economic and other cyber threats, can influence perpetrators’ perceptions of gains.

Categories of possibly relevant instruments

Economic policy;

The policy option of imposing sanctions;

The ability to expose perpetrators;

Physical and cyber security.


Relevant actors


Effect on the perception of costs

The counter threat of retaliation is less effective in this case because ambiguous warfare by definition makes it difficult or even impossible to identify the perpetrator. In the case of covert action, even the ambiguous act itself is difficult to detect. The threat of retaliation can have a deterrent effect if the threat is accompanied by a visible ability to identify the actor that is conducting ambiguous warfare. To be effective, this ability must mean that the identity of the perpetrator can be demonstrated in a convincing manner so that the identification is accepted by third parties (public opinion, the international media and so on). If the foregoing is the case, retaliatory measures can include the use of military means or economic sanctions. Retaliatory action taken in a multilateral context is considerably more effective. In this case, retaliation has the same effect as deterrence against traditional military threats (see Box 2). In addition, retaliation by means of ambiguous counteraction is also possible. The drawback of taking such action, however, is that it would in the long term undermine the effect of the standards in place to prevent ambiguous warfare. Apart from retaliatory measures, better defence mechanisms can also contribute to deterrence against ambiguous warfare if they are combined with a visible ability to convincingly demonstrate the identity of the actor conducting the ambiguous warfare. Increasing the likelihood of damage to the perpetrator’s reputation through exposure of the perpetrator’s identity in combination with the presence of widely accepted standards against ambiguous warfare can also influence the assessment of costs in that they will be deemed to be higher.

Effect on the perception of gains

If states conduct ambiguous warfare for the purpose of disrupting a society or an international coalition, undermining the idea that this objective is achievable can contribute to deterrence. A relevant way of doing so is visibly increasing the resilience of the society or coalition concerned, for instance by showing that an adequate crisis management system is in place and thereby ensuring that the public’s confidence in the functioning of society is not easily undermined. This form of deterrence does not apply in the case of ambiguous warfare that is being carried out to achieve more limited objectives such as territorial gain. Finally, greater defence capacities, in the first place by military means, can also contribute to deterrence if these capacities reduce the probability of success as perceived by the attacker.

Categories of possibly relevant instruments

The ability to carry out a hybrid counteroffensive;

Military means;

Economic means/the policy option of imposing sanctions;

Diplomacy, physical and digital security;

The ability to expose perpetrators;

Crisis management;


Box 2 Deterrence as an instrument against traditional military threats

In this box, the following definition of traditional military threat is used: ‘the open threat posed by regular armed forces to a state’s territorial integrity or interests that could potentially compromise the threatened state’s sovereignty.’ In contrast to ambiguous warfare, a traditional military threat is a visible one and the state responsible can be identified.



This study explores the possible usefulness to the Dutch government of deterrence as a security concept with respect to the non-traditional security threats of terrorism, crime, threats in the cyber and economic domains, and ambiguous warfare. The starting point in this regard is that deterrence can be achieved by influencing the costs versus gains assessment of potential perpetrators or their facilitators such that it is less attractive or unattractive to perform or support harmful acts.

The main conclusions of this study are, first, that deterrence as a security concept is relevant to all of the five main areas of threat discussed and, second, that the most effective kind of deterrence depends on the main area of threat in question and the specific actors in that context. An effective deterrence policy should therefore be tailored to a specific area of threat and, where possible, specific groups and actors. Little is as yet known about the effectiveness of actual deterrence instruments.

The report also presents additional conclusions, which are set out below.

These additional conclusions are based on the analysis framework used. The most effective form of deterrence is one that addresses both the costs and gains side:

The costs assessment of potential perpetrators can be directly influenced by means of the threat of retaliation. This method seems to be most suitable as deterrence against criminal activity (by means of prosecution and punishment, for example) and economic threats posed by state actors (by means of countersanctions, for example). The more difficult it is to identify the perpetrators, the less effective the threat of retaliation. The effectiveness of this method against cyber threats and ambiguous warfare is therefore limited. Moreover, it is difficult in both cases to determine the proportionality of retaliatory measures. The effectiveness of this method is also limited with respect to terrorist threats, particularly in the case of terrorists who do not fear retaliation. Taking retaliatory measures can even be counterproductive in that they can generate greater support for terrorists in the population groups from which they originate. In the case of criminals, the threat of limited retaliation against individuals in their social environment can be relevant in the context of weakening the support that criminals receive from this environment. The costs assessment of perpetrators can be indirectly influenced by convincing them that major investments are necessary. The most important way of achieving this objective is by visibly improving or emphasising defence mechanisms. This applies to all of the five main areas of threat discussed in this study.

The assessment of potential gains can be directly influenced by reducing opportunities to carry out harmful acts or the probability of success of such acts, or at any rate by generating the impression that success is less likely. Visible investments in defence mechanisms are important and relevant to all of the five main areas of threat. In the case of ambiguous warfare, investments could be made in, for example, defensive, individual or collective military or cyber capabilities and the visible strengthening of the ability to identify and expose the perpetrator. Capabilities that visibly contribute to the early detection of attempts to launch attacks can deter terrorists. The gains assessment of perpetrators can be indirectly influenced by convincing them that harmful acts do not contribute to the achievement of their respective objectives. Although this probably does not apply in deterrence terms to criminals, it applies to politically motivated actors (terrorists and states). An important measure in this regard is visibly increasing the resilience of society so that it is less easily disrupted by terrorist acts or state threats.

With respect to all measures discussed, international cooperation considerably strengthens the deterrence capability of the Netherlands. In many cases, effective deterrence is probably not even possible without international cooperation. When taking diplomatic and economic retaliatory measures, the Netherlands is far more effective when acting in concert with international partners. International cooperation is also important in terms of acquiring the intelligence required to identify an actual or potential perpetrator. The ability to identify and expose a perpetrator is a key part of an effective deterrence policy.

It is also important to note that deterrence aimed at preventing Dutch interests from being compromised is less far-reaching and therefore possibly easier to achieve than forms of deterrence that reduce the level of threat posed by any country whatsoever. The need for joint action in an international context as a condition for an effective deterrence policy implies, however, that deterrence aimed solely at protecting Dutch national security is inadequate.

To achieve effective deterrence, in addition to international cooperation, there are a few more conditions. The measures taken must be credible, the deterrence message must be clearly communicated to the potential perpetrator (communication), the threat and the actors from which it emanates must be known (intelligence), and the deterrence must be based on actual capabilities and an integrated approach (it must deal with both the costs and gains side through several policy domains and types of capabilities).

The authors thank Nina Jolink and Anne Bakker for the valuable contributions that they made to this report as part of their research internships at Clingendael. The authors are likewise grateful to Bibi van Ginkel, Sico van der Meer, Sander Huisman, Peter van Bergeijk, Rob Hendriks, Margriet Drent, Kees Homan and Dick Zandee for writing parts of this report and/or for taking part in the preparatory sessions. We are also indebted to Franca van der Laan, Luc van de Goor, Ko Colijn and readers at various ministries for their valuable comments on previous versions of the text.
Ministry of Defence, Eindrapport verkenningen: houvast voor de krijgsmacht van de toekomst, The Hague: Ministry of Defence, 2010, p. 196.
See Clingendael Strategische Monitor 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
The appendices were prepared based on the written contributions of subject experts that were edited by the authors of this report. Responsibility for the way in which insights from the appendices have been incorporated into the analysis included in this overarching text rests with the authors of the body of the report.
Review Article, Robert Jervis, ‘Deterrence Theory Revisited’. In: World Politics, 31 (1979) 2, p. 289-324.
Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.
Ola Tunander, ‘The Logic of Deterrence’. In: Journal of Peace Research, 26 (1989) 4, p. 353-365.
Jeffrey Knopf, ‘The Fourth Wave in Deterrence Research’. In: Contemporary Security Policy 31 (2010) 1, p. 1-33.
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Strategie Nationale Veiligheid. The Hague, 2007, p. 11. See also Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Veilige wereld, veilig Nederland: Internationale Veiligheidsstrategie. The Hague, 21 June 2013; Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), Aan het buitenland gehecht: Over verankering en strategie van Nederlands buitenlandbeleid. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010.
Clingendael Monitor 2012, 2013, 2014.
See Jan Rood, Frans-Paul van der Putten and Minke Meijnders, Een wereld zonder orde? Clingendael Monitor 2015. The Hague: Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, February 2015.
See Jan Rood, Een wankelende wereldorde: Clingendael Strategische Monitor 2014. The Hague: Clingendael, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, June 2014; ‘Charlemagne: Europe’s ring of fire’. In: The Economist,20 September 2014.
National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV), Beleidsimplicaties Dreigingsbeeld Terrorisme in Nederland 38, The Hague: NCTV, 7 April 2015.
General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), Jaarverslag 2013. The Hague: AIVD, April 2014.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Cybersecuritybeeld Nederland: CSBN-4, July 2014, p. 7.
Individuals who misbehave on the internet and use scripts or programs developed by others to do so.
‘Digitale bankrovers stelen zeker 260 miljoen euro’. In: NRC Handelsblad, 16 February 2015.
F. Boerman, M. Grapendaal, F. Nieuwenhuis and E. Stoffers, Nationaal Dreigingsbeeld 2012: Georganiseerde Criminaliteit. Zoetermeer: Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD), p. 30-31.
E.W. Kruisbergen, H.G. van de Bunt and E.R. Kleemans, Georganiseerde criminaliteit in Nederland: Vierde rapportage op basis van de Monitor Georganiseerde Criminaliteit. The Hague/Rotterdam: Research and Documentation Centre (WODC)/Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), 2012, p. 16.
Idem, p. 34.
Ambiguous warfare is not the same as hybrid warfare. Ambiguous warfare is waged on the basis of being able to deny involvement, whereas hybrid warfare is based on the use of all possible means, including economic and diplomatic, propaganda, cyber attacks and so on. These two types of warfare can occur in combination.
Lizzie Dearden, ‘Full list of incidents involving Russian military and NATO since March 2014’. In: The Independent, 10 November 2014.
This does not include ‘smaller’ actors like script kiddies and hacktivists and the like. CSBN-4 indicates that states, terrorists and professional criminals pose the greatest threat (National Cyber Security Centre, Cybersecuritybeeld Nederland: CSBN-4, July 2014).
CBRN: Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and also cyber, for example.
DIME: Diplomacy, Information, Military and Economy.
Regarding conventional military deterrence, see Jon Solomon, ‘Conventional Deterrence Requires Forward Presence’. In: Information Dissemination, 14 October 2014; ‘Conventional Deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age’. In: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 17 November 2010; Maren Leed, ‘The Role of Conventional Forces in Deterrence’. In: Global Forecast 2015, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 2014.
Adam Lowther, ‘Framing Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century: Conference Summary’. In: Anthony C. Cain (ed.), Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century: Proceedings. Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 2010.