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Non-Kinetic Targeting of Dark Networks: Social Network Analysis of the PKK Terrorist Organization


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Dark networks can be defined as illegal and covert social networks. Terrorist groups are an excellent example of a dark network. Decision makers have two basic options to disrupt dark networks. The first option is kinetic targeting, which entails finding the target and capturing or eliminating him or her. The second is non-kinetic targeting, which involves finding, tracking, and monitoring key actors, psychological operations, information operations, rehabilitation and reintegration, and institution building. Because of the covert nature of dark networks, it is a challenge to understand the whole structure of the dark network and identify the right actor for non-kinetic targeting. At this point, social network analysis (SNA) can be used to solve this problem. SNA is a set of mathematical tools and theories developed to understand the structure of social networks by assuming the individuals behavior is driven by the structure of the social network in which he or she is embedded. In this thesis, I analyze the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization in Turkey using SNA and craft a non-kinetic targeting plan to disrupt this dark network.



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