Workshop on Methodological Advancements in the Study of Dark Networks
September 5-6, 2013, Thayer Hotel, West Point, NY
Workshop Description: Some of the most important international security threats stem from terror groups, criminal enterprises, and other violent non-state actors (VNSAs). Because these groups are often structured as complex dark networks, analysts have begun to use network science to study them. However, standard network tools were originally developed to examine companies, friendship groups, and other transparent networks. The inherently clandestine nature of dark networks dictates that conventional analytical tools do not always apply. Data on dark networks is incomplete, inaccurate, and often just difficult to find. Moreover, dark networks are often organized to undertake fundamentally different tasks than transparent networks, so resources and information may follow different paths through these two types of networks. Given the distinctive characteristics of dark networks, unique tools are needed to understand these structures. The goal of this workshop is to bring together network methodologists to present recent and cutting-edge developments in social science to illuminate dark networks.
First Annual Minerva at West Point Workshop
April 16-17, 2012, Thayer, Hotel, West Point, NY
Workshop Description: Understanding Cultural Networks in Africa and Asia for National Security was the focus of the first annual workshop. The event began with a community-building boat cruise along the Hudson River and continued the following day at the Thayer Hotel with a series of keynote, plenary, and technical session presentations. Keynote speakers, Dr. John Nagl and Dr. Marcia Hartwell captured the overarching relevance of social sciences within the military.
The Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering led the Africa panel which discussed models of socio-and-ethno cultural development, civil-military social networks and the stability of those networks, the politics of piracy in Somalia, and the realities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership led the afternoon panel with topics on social networks in a counterinsurgency, building cultural models and the rule of law in China, and an assessment of network analysis of Asian extremism.