Strategic Intelligence During COIN Detention Operations: Relational Data and Understanding Latent Terror Networks


One aspect of the global War on Terror that has received limited coverage in the academic literature is the problem of detained persons as it relates to intelligence. This is a surprising oversight, given the number of detainees that the USA has been responsible for (over 25,000 were in custody in Iraq alone at one time during its peak). The detention environment offers a prime strategic intelligence opportunity for the US intelligence community to study the tactics and organizations of individuals who have been removed from the overall conflict. In this article an easily implemented collection program is recommended to be deployed in US/coalition detention centers. The primary recommendation is to gather relational data on detainee communication, both authorized and illicit, and to use these data to perform network analyses of terrorist groups and their individual members.

Defense and Security Analysis, 29(1)

This project came out of a weekly paper I wrote for my first year research design seminar for Douglas Dion in Fall 2008. It was one of the worst papers I wrote in graduate school. It went through many iterations. It is based on my experiences while stationed at Camp Bucca in Iraq from September 2007-April 2008.