Social Network Analysis as an Approach to Combat Terrorism: Past, Present, and Future Research   [open pdf - 303KB]

"The greatest security threat facing the United States is not from formal states, but from terrorist organizations that attack informally, using terror at any time and place, with the goal of undermining confidence in U.S. institutions and the American way of life. No longer a structured battle that can be fought with military power, the war against terrorism will be won with superior knowledge. Due to the changing nature of homeland security issues, a new type of intelligence is needed by homeland security: social network analysis (SNA). The basis of social network analysis (also known as network science or network sociology) is that individual nodes (which, depending on the type of network, can be people, events, etc.) are connected by complex yet understandable relationships that form networks. These networks are ubiquitous, with an underlying order and simple laws. Networks form the structural basis of many natural events, organizations, and social processes. Terrorist organizations are well-suited to study using social network analysis, as they consist of networks of individuals that span countries, continents, and economic status, and form around specific ideology. Terrorist organizations are different from hierarchical, state-sponsored appointments in characteristics such as leadership and organizational structure. Social network analysis can provide important information on the unique characteristics of terrorist organizations, ranging from issues of network recruitment, network evolution, and the diffusion of radical ideas."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Homeland Security Affairs Journal: http://www.hsaj.org/
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Homeland Security Affairs (July 2006), v.2 no.2, article 8
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