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FYI, on behalf of Karl van Meter.

FWIW, I read the report (URL below) and was not impressed by the level of
the analysis.


  Barry Wellman         Professor of Sociology        NetLab Director
  wellman at

  Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
  455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
             To network is to live; to live is to network

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2004 13:38:40 +0100
From: Karl M. van Meter <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: [log in to unmask]

"Secrecy News" is a project of the
Federation of American Scientists

February 9, 2004

An Air Force study of the Iranian government that was co-sponsored
by the National Security Agency shows how U.S. intelligence
agencies are making use of "social network analysis," a social
science research tool, to inform their products.

In social network analysis the patterns of social interaction are
subjected to rigorous examination and modeling, beginning with
questions such as:  Who knows whom?  Which individuals and groups
interact with one another and on what terms?

Social network analysis provides a useful way of structuring
knowledge and framing further research.  Ideally, it can also
enhance an analyst's predictive capacity.

"Correctly interpreting a social network assists in predicting
behavior and decision-making within the social network," wrote
Capt. Robert S. Renfro, II and Richard F. Deckro of the Air Force
Institute of Technology.

"The ability to understand and predict behavior of members in a
social network allows the analyst to evaluate specific courses of
action that will influence the members of a social network in a
desirable manner."

In an illustrative example, the Air Force authors applied this
method in order "to understand the relative influence of
individuals in the Iranian government."

Of course, like other analytical techniques, social network
analysis produces results that are no better than the data upon
which it rests.  It cannot compensate for intelligence that is
fabricated, skewed or simply erroneous.

See "A Social Network Analysis of the Iranian Government" by Renfro
and Deckro, based on research co-sponsored by the National
Security Agency and the National Air Intelligence Center, November
2001, (1 MB PDF file) here:

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