Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy

By John Arquilla; David Ronfeldt | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL NETWORKS1
Phil Williams

Editors' abstract. Many old-style criminal hierarchies (e.g., the Italian Mafia) are reorganizing into sprawling transnational networks. Williams (University of Pittsburgh) analyzes this trend, with an emphasis on developments unfolding in Russian criminal organizations. He draws on the academic literatures about social and business networks to deepen our understanding of this phenomenon. The chapter builds upon earlier articles in which he pioneered the study of transnational criminal organizations from network perspectives, notably “The Nature of Drug-Trafficking Networks,” Current History, April 1998.

In a recent analysis of global trends, the U.S. National Intelligence Council included a short section on criminal organizations and networks. It noted that

criminal organizations and networks based in North America, Western Europe, China, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia will expand the scale and scope of their activities. They will form loose alliances with one another, with smaller criminal entrepreneurs, and with insurgent movements for specific operations. They will corrupt leaders of unstable, economically fragile, or failing states, insinuate themselves into troubled banks and businesses,

____________________
1
The author thanks John Picarelli, Bill Koenig, and Paul N. Woessner for a series of helpful discussions on the role of network analysis in intelligence; and Gregory O'Hayon, William Cook, Jeremy Kinsell, and Brian Joyce for their work at the University of Pittsburgh's Ridgway Center in mapping Russian and other criminal networks. He also thanks the I2 Company for providing the software used for these activities.

-61-

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