On Heterogeneous Covert Networks

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2008-46

13 Pages Posted: 21 May 2008  

Roy H. A. Lindelauf

Military Operational Science

Peter Borm

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER); Tilburg University - Department of Econometrics & Operations Research

Herbert Hamers

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER); Tilburg University - Department of Econometrics & Operations Research

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

Covert organizations are constantly faced with a tradeoff between secrecy and operational effciency. Lindelauf, Borm and Hamers (2008) developed a theoretical framework to determine optimal homogeneous networks taking the above mentioned considerations explicitly into account. In this paper this framework is put to the test by applying it to the 2002 Jemaah Islamiyah Bali bombing. It is found that most aspects of this covert network can be explained by the theoretical framework. Some interactions however provide a higher risk to the network than others. The theoretical framework on covert networks is extended to accommodate for such heterogeneous interactions. Given a network structure the optimal location of one risky interaction is established. It is shown that the pair of individuals in the organization that should conduct the interaction that presents the highest risk to the organization, is the pair that is the least connected to the remainder of the network. Furthermore, optimal networks given a single risky interaction are approximated and compared. When choosing among a path, star and ring graph it is found that for low order graphs the path graph is best. When increasing the order of graphs under consideration a transition occurs such that the star graph becomes best. It is found that the higher the risk a single interaction presents to the covert network the later this transition from path to star graph occurs.

Keywords: covert networks, terrorist networks, heterogeneity, game theory, information, secrecy.

JEL Classification: C50, C78

Suggested Citation

Lindelauf, Roy H. A. and Borm, Peter and Hamers, Herbert, On Heterogeneous Covert Networks (April 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1135211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1135211

Roy H. A. Lindelauf (Contact Author)

Military Operational Science ( email )

Kasteelplein 10
Breda, 4811 XC
Netherlands

Peter E. M. Borm

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Department of Econometrics & Operations Research

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Herbert Hamers

Tilburg University - Center for Economic Research (CentER) ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 4666 2660 (Phone)

Tilburg University - Department of Econometrics & Operations Research

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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