IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/jocore/v55y2011i5p785-813.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Covert or Convenient? Evolution of Terror Attack Networks

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Helfstein

    () (Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, USA)

  • Dominick Wright

    (Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, USA)

Abstract

The concept of networks has become synonymous with terrorism in recent years. Despite the abundance of material engaging the concept of terrorist networks, there is a paucity of research that applies analytic network methods to the empirical study of observed data. This article fills that void by comparing two arguments about terror network structure using a newly released attack network data set. One account suggests that terrorists purposefully structure their networks to maximize operational security (OPSEC) by minimizing connections, while an alternate proposition relies on findings in network sciences showing that many networks have a few well-connected individuals (referred to as scale-free structure). Empirical analysis of six evolving attack networks produces results contradicting both assertions. This article then looks beyond structure to examine whether there are any causal relationships between network characteristics and output, specifically attack casualties. The article concludes by examining possible drivers of network structure and pertinent policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Helfstein & Dominick Wright, 2011. "Covert or Convenient? Evolution of Terror Attack Networks," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(5), pages 785-813, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:55:y:2011:i:5:p:785-813
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://jcr.sagepub.com/content/55/5/785.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Virginie Masson & Kelsey Wilkins, 2013. "The Small World of 9/11 and the Implications for Network Dismantlement Strategies," School of Economics Working Papers 2013-08, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:55:y:2011:i:5:p:785-813. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: http://pss.la.psu.edu/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.