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Embedded Efficiency: A Social Networks Approach to Popular Support and Dark Network Structure

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis poses the question, What is the nature of the relationships between social embeddedness, structural efficiency, and organizational behavior within dark networks The objectives of this thesis are twofold. The primary objective is to illuminate the interaction between embeddedness, structure, and activity within dark networks, the aim being to study if changes in embeddedness manifest in observable fluctuations in a networks topography or behavior. The secondary objective is to evaluate the results of a novel, permutation-based methodology. Throughout, this thesis combines qualitative elements of social movement theory and social network analysis with quantitative statistical techniques to provide a mixed-method examination of three empirical dark network case studies the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Noordin Top Terrorist Network, and a Southeast Asian Foreign Fighter Facilitation network. The results of both the qualitative and quantitative methods are synthesized to highlight the strengths and limitations associated with each approach. This thesis reveals that, although embeddedness may contribute to rapid mobilization or organizational security, exogenous factors such as network shocks and endogenous variations in core membership may preclude such advantages from influencing internal network structure. Finally, this thesis recommends potential intelligence applications and areas for future social network research.

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  • Computer Systems

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