Combing the Underworld: Identification of South East Asian Non-State Actor Proliferation Networks, Nodes, and Chokepoints   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The U.S. military, as with all U.S. Government agencies, shares the responsibility for countering proliferation efforts. Although numerous threats that face the United States have been identified, the systems through which the threats operate have not. Each region of the world, and indeed each country, has its own peculiarities. This paper asks the following question: How can the United States prepare to identify potential proliferation networks and chokepoints in Southeast Asia? This author proposes that a potential solution is a template that can be used as a starting point for identifying networks, chokepoints, and nodes. This template examines the interactions within a single country and expands to the regional level. It then ties in other regions to encompass the globe. The author focuses on Southeast Asia, using examples from a single country for the sample template. Southeast Asia has long been a hub for illicit commerce, smuggling, piracy, and corruption. Many of the networks for drug, money, arms, and human trafficking intersect and often overlay one another within this region. The lack of hard evidence that criminals are helping terrorists gain access to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) may be an indicator that no one has looked closely enough at their possible linkages. As organizations and individuals attempt to market available WMD, it is likely that they will attempt to operate networks within countries and regions with pre-existing markets and routes for other illicit trade. Because of the openness of these markets and trafficking routes, Southeast Asia poses a major threat to all nations seeking to counter the proliferation of WMD to non-state actors. The United States needs a holistic template that includes networks for illicit trades in addition to terrorist networks. The proposed templates may not reveal existing networks, but they may identify the potential for network formation."

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