Terrorist Network Adaptation to a Changing Environment
Dark networks-that is, covert and illegal networks (Raab & Milward, 2003)—evolve over time. They undergo changes caused by both endogenous and exogenous factors, such as the attempt by network leaders to recruit talented members to plan and carry out attacks or their reaction to operations by hostile authorities. Changes can be gradual and/or rapid and can affect the way in which a network behaves and its ability to launch successful attacks. Indeed, the study and use of the term “dark networks” has grown dramatically in recent years, as has the application of social network analysis (SNA) to explore and understand the phenomenon. However, most social network analyses of dark networks have tended to use data that merely provide snap-shots at single points in time. Seldom have they drawn on longitudinal data that capture how networks change and adapt over time, making it impossible to explore how important changes in network structure affect a host of related issues, such as network resiliency, network structure and performance, and measuring the effectiveness of counter-terrorism strategies.