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Hello everyone,

I am currently looking for speakers to sit on a panel titled, "The Use of SNA by the US Military: Steps forward, Missteps, and Where to next". Speakers for this panel will have had experience working either directly for the US Military or on projects funded by military research programs. Speakers will also be considered that have familiarity of the SNA work done within the US Military and would like to offer practical or ethical counterpoints to the US Military's past use of networks and suggestions for its improvement. If you are interested in speaking, please email a brief description of what you would like to speak about and a short bio or CV to [log in to unmask] by September 28th.

Abstract and details on format below:

NASN 2018 Panel Discussion on The Use of SNA by the US Military: Steps forward, Missteps, and Where to next
 
In 2011 Social Network Analysis was used in the capture of Osama Bin Laden. SNA and 'Attack the Network' teams have been heralded as being successfully used to counter IED-production networks in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, little has been done to fully institutionalize social network analysis within the Army and greater DoD. Social network analysis also has gained a reputation for being tied to controversial targeting strategies during the U.S.-led counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan (COIN) and more recently to techniques attempting to predict hotspots of violence. The nature of covert 'dark' networks creates imperfect data conditions that require caution in how their results are analyzed, especially by those without formal training with minimal peer-review. Furthermore, the U.S. Military is a major contributor to forwarding basic research on network analysis that has led to both theoretical and methodological advances in the field. The purpose of this invited panel session will be to provide insight into where the US Military is 'getting it right' with networks, while having a frank discussion of where we have not. Invitees for this session will have had experience working SNA projects with the US Military and will be asked to offer a critical perspective of how the US Military has implemented network analysis with suggestions for the future.
As noted by David Knoke in 2012, no occupational code (MOU) exists for a social network analyst and much of the adoption of network analysis is either by contractors or by motivated soldiers. Additionally, this leads to a non-standardized understanding of what SNA is within the US Military and what problem-sets it is best suited for. Second, the successes of network analysis within DoD are difficult to capture (as are the failures). Compounding this problem is the issue of how do SNA practitioners within the army show the effectiveness of SNA, especially when deployed to avert violence or increase organizational performance. Thus, SNA programs can have difficulties proving their worth when compared to other items in the budget. Lastly, networks have been associated largely with terror groups and non-state actors; can network analysis effectively prove itself as the Army pivots to focus more on near-peer competitors? 

Format:
0-5 minutes: Brief introduction of the 4 speakers and the topic by the discussion chair 
5-65 minutes: Each speaker will have 15 minutes to present prepared remarks. Questions will be held to the end of the panel for a Q&A session. It will not be necessary for the panelists to prepare a PowerPoint unless they choose to do so. 
65 minutes to end of session: Q&A with panel taking questions from the audience

Best,

Adam

Adam Jonas
Network Engagement 
USARMY Training and Doctrine Command
email: [log in to unmask]

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