Visualizing Social Networks to Inform Tactical Engagement Strategies that will Influence the Human Domain
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The Special Operations Command, Marine Corps, and Army recently formed the Strategic Landpower Task Force to study the confluence of the land, cyber, and human domains. To support the Task Force’s research, this paper demonstrates the utility of visualizing social networks in order to inform a unit’s population tactical engagement strategy. We illustrate how collecting, structuring and visualizing socio-cultural data can assist units to rapidly communicate human dynamics, visualize community and group affiliations, prepare for key leader engagements, highlight potential powerbrokers, and identify information gaps about the human terrain. We provide real world examples from a recent deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. These examples reveal how social network and link analysis can assist units to understand and influence the human domain at the tactical level.