A preliminary theory of dark network resilience

Authors

  • René M. Bakker,

    1. Department of Organisation Studies, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, NL–5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
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  • Jörg Raab,

    1. Assistant Professor, Department of Organisation Studies, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, NL-5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
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  • H. Brinton Milward

    1. Providence Service Corporation Chair, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210027, Tucson, AZ 85721–0027
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Abstract

A crucial contemporary policy question for governments across the globe is how to cope with international crime and terrorist networks. Many such “dark” networks—that is, networks that operate covertly and illegally—display a remarkable level of resilience when faced with shocks and attacks. Based on an in-depth study of three cases (MK, the armed wing of the African National Congress in South Africa during apartheid; FARC, the Marxist guerrilla movement in Colombia; and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, in Sri Lanka), we present a set of propositions to outline how shocks impact dark network characteristics (resources and legitimacy) and networked capabilities (replacing actors, linkages, balancing integration and differentiation) and how these in turn affect a dark network's resilience over time. We discuss the implications of our findings for policymakers. © 2011 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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