Archive for the ‘Military / Defense’ Category

To counter insurgency - try to understand your enemies social networks first

Mittwoch, März 14th, 2007

Of course this is not the only thing those on the ground and in HQ should consider. Know the people, the topography, economy, history, religion and culture. Know every village, road, field, population group, tribal leader, and ancient grievance says David Kilcullen, an Australian Army officer. For decades, the Pentagon and social sciences have had little to do with each other. This was different in World War II and is changing given the difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. More on that in an article by Packer (2005) in the New Yorker (12/18). In fact, network analysis was also used in the pursuit for Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi President. A paper by Aylwin-Foster (2005) and the US Army field manual (FMI 3-07.22) give further insights into strategies and practices of counter-insurgency operations.

Other aspects of dark networks were presented in an earlier post the PNG blog. With regard to Afghanistan, military planners might find work done by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit of interest. Here is a link to one of their case studies about Afghani social networks in Peshawar, the Pakistani border region with its key trade route (Khyber Pass) to Afghanistan. You can also listen to a program (Taliban Sympathizers Take Refuge in Pakistan) on NPR by Kelly (2006/12/1). Finally, additional insights can surely be derived from Monsutti’s (2005) book, War and Migration:Social Networks and Economic Strategies of the Hazaras of Afghanistan .