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Predicting the Structure of Covert Networks using Genetic Programming, Cognitive Work Analysis and Social Network Analysis

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A significant challenge in intelligence analysis involves knowing when a social network description is complete, i.e., when sufficient connections have been found to render the network complete. In this paper, a combination of methods is used to predict covert network structures for specific missions. The intention is to support hypothesis-generation in the Social Network Analysis of covert organisations. The project employs a four phase approach to modelling social networks, working from task descriptions rather than from contacts between individual phase one involves the collation of intelligence covering types of mission, in terms of actors and goals phase two involves the building of task models, based on Cognitive Work Analysis, to provide both a process model of the operation and an indication of the constraints under which the operation will be performed phase three involves the generation of alternative networks using Genetic Programming phase four involves the analysis of the resulting networks using social network analysis. Subsequent analysis explores the resilience of the networks, in terms of their resistance to losses of agents or tasks. The project demonstrates that it is possible to define a set of structures that can be tackled using different intervention strategies, demonstrates how patterns of social network structures can be predicted on the basis of task knowledge, and how these structures can be used to guide the gathering of intelligence and to define plausible Covert Networks.

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  • Non-Radio Communications

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