Modeling Terrorist Networks - Complex Systems at the Mid-Range

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This 2013 paper focuses on the modelling of terrorist networks online and addresses changes in technology and the associated creation of new security dynamics and threats. The authors argue that a proper approach to modeling terrorist networks and their flows of information, money, and material needs must be structured in such a way that at the mid-range, various government agencies can efficiently share information to spread and reduce risk. The authors believe that the application of the most recent advances in science is most likely to bear fruit in the fight against terrorism at an intermediate or organizational level. They characterize this as action at the mid-range level, which they argue will be more effective than at the levels of state leadership or the individual level, mapping and predicting the behaviour of each individual terrorist.

This article will be of use to practitioners and researchers interested in the modelling of terrorist networks online and exploring the potential of new approaches. According to the authors, this mid-range level approach would allow analysts to uncover the structure and inner workings of terrorist groups. In order to further the discussion the paper looks at network analysis models related to the 9/11 terror attacks, complex network analysis, social network theory, and social cohesion and adhesion. 

Philip Vos Fellman and Roxana Wright