A Network Design Approach to Countering Terrorism
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Several recent terrorist attacks in Western countries have highlighted the need for strategies to disrupt dark networks, and social network analysis SNA has proven to be a useful tool for analyzing network structure and identifying weaknesses, based on empirical data. But there are several other factors to consider, and by taking a network design approach, a better understanding can be gained of how networks function and what makes them successful. This thesis applies a conceptual network design approach, together with SNA, in a comparative case study where performance of historical terrorist networks is examined to find recommendations for future counter-terrorism efforts. The conclusion is that design matters results depend on how well networks are configured for the specific environment, and the network design approach can be used together with SNA to identify vulnerabilities for exploitation. Networks require a balanced configuration to perform well studying several endogenous and exogenous factors can help counter-terrorism services remove that balance for terrorist networks, and design their own networks to be as efficient as possible. To be successful, counter-terrorist organizations must out-design the terrorist networks.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics