Strategies for Combating Dark Networks


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Journal of Social Structure

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Subject: Social Sciences


eISSN: 1529-1227





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VOLUME 12 , ISSUE 1 (December 2011) > List of articles

Strategies for Combating Dark Networks

Nancy Roberts / Sean F. Everton

Keywords : Dark networks, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, strategy

Citation Information : Journal of Social Structure. Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 1-32, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Published Online: 13-January-2020



Our goal in this paper is to explore two generic approaches to disrupting dark networks: kinetic and nonkinetic. The kinetic approach involves aggressive and offensive measures to eliminate or capture network members and their supporters, while the non-kinetic approach involves the use of subtle, non-coercive means for combating dark networks. Two strategies derive from the kinetic approach: Targeting and Capacity-building. Four strategies derive from the non-kinetic approach: Institution-Building, Psychological Operations, Information Operations and Rehabilitation. We use network data from Noordin Top’s South East Asian terror network to illustrate how both kinetic and non-kinetic strategies could be pursued depending on a commander’s intent. Using this strategic framework as a backdrop, we strongly advise the use of SNA metrics in developing alterative counter-terrorism strategies that are contextdependent rather than letting SNA metrics define and drive a particular strategy.

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