Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Learn SNA, join the marines

The US Army used Social Network Analysis to capture Saddam Hussein:

The capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 was the result of hard work
along with continuous intelligence gathering and analysis. Each day another piece of
the puzzle fell into place. Each led to coalition forces identifying and locating more of
the key players in the insurgent network—both highly visible ones like Saddam Hussein and the lesser ones who sustained and supported the insurgency. This process produced detailed diagrams that showed the structure of Hussein’s personal security apparatus and the relationships among the persons identified.
The intelligence analysts and commanders in the 4th Infantry Division spent the
summer of 2003 building link diagrams showing everyone related to Hussein by
blood or tribe. Those family diagrams led counterinsurgents to the lower level, but
nonetheless highly trusted, relatives and clan members harboring Hussein and helping him move around the countryside. The circle of bodyguards and mid-level military officers, drivers, and gardeners protecting Hussein was described as a “Mafia organization,” where access to Hussein controlled relative power within the network.
Over days and months, coalition forces tracked how the enemy operated. Analysts
traced trends and patterns, examined enemy tactics, and related enemy tendencies
to the names and groups on the tracking charts. This process involved making continual adjustments to the network template and constantly determining which critical data points were missing.
Late in the year, a series of operations produced an abundance of new intelligence
about the insurgency and Hussein’s whereabouts. Commanders then designed a series of raids to capture key individuals and leaders of the former regime who could
lead counterinsurgents to him. Each mission gained additional information, which
shaped the next raid. This cycle continued as a number of mid-level leaders of the
former regime were caught, eventually leading coalition forces into Hussein’s most
trusted inner circle and finally to Hussein’s capture.

See Appendix B.
The whole thing is quite interesting reading - it's the US army's counterinsurgency manual.