FIGHTING DARK NETWORKS: USING SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS TO IMPLEMENT THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS TARGETING PROCESS FOR DIRECT AND INDIRECT APPROACHES
Erlacher, Matthew D.
Everton, Sean F.
Denning, Dorothy E.
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Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States military has been engaged against transnational networks, a domain for which many of its processes were not designed and are not well-suited. A significant part of the militarys struggle of the last decade of war has been a lack of a framework for understanding and measuring changes in social networks, especially insurgent or terrorist networks known as dark networks. This thesis puts forth an experimental framework called the Special Operations Network Analysis Process, or SONAP, to solve that problem. SONAP combines the CARVER target analysis method with Social Network Analysis and a systems framework for identifying and bounding social mechanisms that support dark networks, as well as a means for identifying and evaluating changes in networks. This framework is then applied to a 2006 open-source data set of an Indonesian terrorist network. The result is a demonstrated utility in not only understanding the structure of that dark network, but also in designing an intervention strategy, along with means to measure structural and operational changes in that network.
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