Title: The complexity of terrorist networks

Authors: Philip Vos Fellman

Addresses: Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester NH 03106, USA

Abstract: Complexity science affords a number of novel tools for examining terrorism, particularly network analysis and NK Boolean fitness landscapes. This paper explores various aspects of terrorist networks which can be illuminated through applications of nonlinear dynamical systems modelling to terrorist network structures. Of particular interest are some of the emergent properties of terrorist networks as typified by the 9/11 hijackers network, properties of centrality, hierarchy and distance, as well as ways in which attempts to disrupt the transmission of information through terrorist networks may be expected to produce greater or lesser levels of fitness in those organisations.

Keywords: NK Boolean fitness landscapes; terrorism; terrorist networks; complexity; network analysis; terrorists; nonlinear dynamical systems; modelling; 9/11 attacks; hijackers; centrality; hierarchy; distance; disruption; information transmission; fitness levels; virtual organisations; web based organisations; online organisations; open source intelligence; web mining; world wide web; internet.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2011.037158

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2011 Vol.8 No.1/2, pp.4 - 14

Published online: 30 Nov 2010 *

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