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Thread: Crowdsourcing on AQ and Analysis (new title)

  1. #41
    Council Member M-A Lagrange's Avatar
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    AQMI seems to be a good model to look to what will happen to AQ after UBL death as it's more or less an offshoot of the algerian islamist terror group after their defeat.

    This is just a personal opinion and guess.

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    What will terrorism be post Bin Laden?
    S.S.D.D.

    (Same Stuff Different Day)

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    S.S.D.D.
    Really, I think things will be different. I think the biggest changes will be in recruitment and money for AQ. Still wading through it all, but I definitely think things will be different.

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    Thanks to all those at Small Wars Journal that voted on this poll. I've had a great response rate and will begin compiling in a couple days.

    For those that still want to vote on:
    "What will terrorism be post Bin Laden?"
    This link will be active for about 72 more hours.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/aqafterbinladen

  5. #45
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    Default Crowdsourcing on AQ and Analysis (new title)

    Immediately following 9/11/2001, hopes were high that Bin Laden and his gang would quickly be caught. In early 2002, Bin Laden escaped the Tora Bora cave network slipping into Pakistan beginning the longest, most expensive and most exhaustive man hunt in world history.

    In 2003, the Bin Laden mission lost focus; distracted by Iraq and the hunt for new villains. By 2004, the American public narrative changed and repeatedly stated that Bin Laden was hiding in a cave, sickened, weak, and irrelevant. By 2006-2007, this speculation was cemented into the minds of Western analysts, media pundits and the general public.

    Looking back, this narrative hindered my analysis and I imagine the analysis of many others seeking the demise of Bin Laden. Analysts were seeking to confirm a narrative constructed on two brief periods in Bin Laden's Afghan existence: a hiding period in the so-called "Lion's Den" during the mid-1980's and the 2002 Tora Bora siege. This narrative, derived from an appealing perceived pattern of Bin Laden's behavior, drove many to look for things that weren't there: guys in a cave, living on bread and water, coordinating through sophisticated electronic communication. Instead, he was killed in a compound similar to others he resided in, surrounded by family and communicating by courier.

    Resources were poured into detecting a pattern that suited our narrative more than the realities described throughout Bin Laden's life (See Patternicity for more on this). During the 1980's, he founded AQ in Peshawar guesthouses. In the 1990's, he occupied a Khartoum estate and later lived fairly openly in several different Afghan camps. This pattern of life, rather than the cave narrative we created, turned out to be consistent with where Bin Laden was discovered. His Khartoum residence looks strikingly similar to his Pakistani hideout. (See below)

    In hindsight, Bin Laden hid not in caves but within people-social networks of loyalty sealed by ideology, bought with Gulf donations and maneuvered through political brokering. Bin Laden lasted ten years because he leveraged his financial pull to sustain operations, his political value to engender Pakistani supporters, and his ideological credibility to garner protection from the Haqqani network. People hid Bin Laden, not caves.

    How was he identified and killed? Through the persistent work of dedicated analysts, investigators, military operatives and intelligence officers using human skills to turn interview results into a victory. In the end, it was pursuing good analysis on Bin Laden's human network, not adhering to narratives that brought mission completion.

    Thank you to those analysts, investigators and officers that fought so long and hard to bring Bin Laden's demise. And, thanks to Small Wars for providing such a great platform to assist in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency over the years; helping to move past narratives and onto real analysis.

    Clint Watts
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    Clint,

    Thanks for that commentary and the recommended TED talk.

    Whilst those questions may now be asked outside and inside government / intelligence agencies; was there any inside use of 'Red Teaming' and regular reviews of the fugitive hunt? From an outsider it appears not - until a politically-inspired direction.
    davidbfpo

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    Like I said so long ago it would be his Family,Friends and Finances that would lead us to him and the best way to do that is "Boots on the ground,Eyes on the people, Mind on the mission."

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    I think there were probably considerable Red Teams and all sorts of analysis done. I am certain that some segments of the Intel Community never lost focus.

    In general though, I think the common political narratives thrown about in the media hampered how analysis was done; whether it be WMD in Iraq, Bin Laden in a Cave, or if you are in the U.S. the famous "DC Sniper might be in a White Box Truck". In these cases, narratives designed to give the populace comfort result in analysis being skewed to find that which has been declared rather than sticking to structured analytical approaches and hard data.

    I was just thinking about it last night, the perceptions placed in my mind and others and how that can really hinder long run objectives.

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    CWOT,

    Excellent post and I highly recommend the video link to a much wider audience than the intelligence community. I think it reinforces my view (my pre-conceived pattern) of why psychology should be a mandatory part of professional military education. I can see the pre-conceived patterns (an old concept) in numerous discussions throughout SWJ. We have some dogmatic individuals who embrace the anti-COIN arguments, the pro-COIN argument, and the government is always at fault. It is clear when they look at a picture with no pattern they'll find one that fits their assumption.

    I think there are two take aways from this. First is need to be much more self critical of ourselves (recognize we all suffer from the shortfall of being human), and encourage ideas that rub against the accepted grain. Second, in my view this justifies the pursuit for ever greater analytical/knowledge based technology that can analyze MBs of data to identify potential patterns without the bias that an analyst would bring. The human will always make the ultimate decision (at least for the forseeable future), but this type of technology will help the analyst avoid getting stuck in ruts. An analyst when sort through tons of data has no choice but to form a hypothesis and then search for data that confirms or supports it. He or she can't randomly sort through volumes and volumes of data and randomly create links.

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    Thanks Bill, I appreciate the compliment.

    I watched the TED video on Patternicity as a complete coincidence while riding on the train. The entire time he was talking about looking for things that are not there, I was thinking," I've done that before."

    I agree that we should have a better process for accepting alternative views within our analysis. I have seen the red team crews before and the idea is good. But, I don't know, it just never seems to come up with something plausible and different. That's part of the reason I started the Bin Laden poll this week. I wanted to see how perspectives differed between groups of people and the results thus far are really striking. I have the poll running through the end of this week and will start cross posting the results here for those that are interested.

  11. #51
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    Default Sergeant Joe Friday....Just The Facts Mam

    Maybe we should teach to stop looking for patterns and teach what they teach Cops......follow the evidence. B.F. Skinner was a big believer in Systems Thinking and I have real issues of how his pigeon experiments were portrayed. Skinner developed the idea of "Hunting Behavior" from those experiments not patternicity(spelling).

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    Default My two cents

    based on what works and has worked for me and others I've observed over the years (lawyers, cops and investigators) - follow the evidence, recognize systems and use fuzzy (not cast in concrete) patterns.

    A quick graphic down and dirty. The Deep and Narrow, and the Broad and Shallow, are recipes for disasters. So, use the more difficult "Evidence Tree" which is a compromise (time is not infinite - "better" leads have to be chosen):

    Evidence Trees.jpg

    Have to do some of my Real World stuff.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: A couple of years ago, Slap and I had a conversation re: systems. I said I was dumb on systems - I was thinking about all the academic stuff (Bravo Sierra in Stanian terms) on systems. Slap said: No, you use systems every day. So, I looked about and concluded he was right. I use them, have used them before I was a lawyer; but just haven't called them that. E.g., you can start with the justice system and find many systems in and linking to that more generalized system. Thus, HT to Slap.
    Last edited by jmm99; 05-05-2011 at 05:59 PM. Reason: add PS

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    Here are some examples of a system commonly used among a number of peoples in Asia.

    Dependent Origination:

    Dependent origination or dependent arising (from Sanskrit: प्रतीत्यसमुत्पाद, pratītyasamutpāda; Pali: paticcasamuppāda; Tibetan: rten.cing.'brel.bar.'byung.ba; Chinese: 緣起) is a cardinal doctrine in Buddhism. It describes the causal relations between the psychophysical phenomena that sustain dukkha (dissatisfaction) in worldly experience. It is variously rendered into English as "dependent origination", "dependent arising", "conditioned genesis", "dependent co-arising", and "interdependent arising" and is an elaboration of the second Noble Truth.
    Pratītyasamutpāda - Wikipedia
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWOT View Post
    I agree that we should have a better process for accepting alternative views within our analysis.
    Are there adaptive constraints involved with legacy systems that prioritise doctrinal conformity over independent situational and contextual observation? Is the system feedback loop tuned to legacy survivability over adaptive potential? If so, is legacy survivability viewed as the key to foundational strength?

    To be honest, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CWOT View Post
    I agree that we should have a better process for accepting alternative views within our analysis. I have seen the red team crews before and the idea is good. But, I don't know, it just never seems to come up with something plausible and different. That's part of the reason I started the Bin Laden poll this week. I wanted to see how perspectives differed between groups of people and the results thus far are really striking. I have the poll running through the end of this week and will start cross posting the results here for those that are interested.
    As an intel guy, this kind of thing is near and dear to my heart.

    Red-teaming can be useful, but it's best when composed of outsiders who are less likely to share organizational mindsets. Structured analytical techniques are another option (ACH being the most famous) that can help people break out of their mindset and consider alternatives. The intel community uses a variety of methods, but of course it can't do that for everything given time and resource constraints. Training and experience count for a lot IMO as does a decent level of introspection.

    It's an enduring problem to be sure and there are no easy or certain solutions.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    Red-teaming can be useful, but it's best when composed of outsiders who are less likely to share organizational mindsets.
    I worked for many years trying to bring in outside academics for different perspectives and the results were really mixed. Sometimes it was the government folks that just couldn't get in the mindset to collaborate. Other times, it was the reverse, the academic folks couldn't provide something useful for policy/actions. When it went well, it was great. Achieving the right mix was very challenging though.

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    Thanks for the great response Small Wars. I'll close polling in 24 hours and am still taking any and all votes. Thanks to everyone that participated and I'll post a note here when I get the data aggregated.

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    Default Results of the Post Bin Laden & AQ Strategy Poll

    Thanks to all the Small Wars Journal Readers that participating in the AQ Strategy 2011-2012 and Post Bin Laden Polls over the past two weeks. I'm just now posting the first results of these polls.

    For the results from each of the questions, I'll post an update on this thread.

    Here's the first result from the Post-UBL poll--------

    Of 147 participants in the Post-UBL poll, 121 respondents answered the following question:

    “Now that Bin Laden is dead, how long until U.S. counterterrorism forces eliminate Ayman al-Zawahiri?”

    The majority of respondents selected “Within the next 2 years.” This result surprised me as I thought most would estimate an earlier demise of Zawahiri. Additionally, respondents across all major professional categories selected their choices in remarkably similar distributions across the five answer choices.


    For the charts see
    "Voters say Zawahiri 1 to 2 years from capture: Poll Results #1"

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    Default Consequences of Bin Laden Death: Poll Results #2

    The first question asked during the Post UBL Poll was:

    What will be the chief consequence of Usama Bin Laden’s death?


    The largest group of respondents believes Bin Laden’s death will create no significant change to AQ operations. However, large subsets of respondents believe that:

    1- Zawahiri will take charge of AQ’s strategic leadership and direction
    2- AQAP based in Yemen will become the new head of AQ globally

    For graphs and tables showing the results of this question, see this link.

    Thanks to all of you for voted!

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    Default AQ's Leadership Post Bin Laden: Poll Results #3

    Again, thanks for voting on the Post UBL and AQ Strategy Polls the past few weeks.

    Here are the latest results:

    "Voters responded to two different polls pertaining to the question of AQ’s future leadership. (one the week before UBL’s death and one the week after UBL’s death)

    From the Post UBL Poll. The question was:

    Assuming that Usama Bin Laden can be replaced, which al Qaeda (AQ) member has the necessary attributes to become AQ’s global leader?

    I found the following results from this question interesting:

    'Government’ voters were the least likely of the larger groups to pick Zawahiri.

    No voters from ‘Academia’ picked Sayf al-Adl

    ‘Private Sector’ respondents picked Awlaki at a higher rate than any other group.

    Voters responded to a similar question the week prior to UBL’s death during the AQ Strategy Poll 2011-2012. Of 325 respondents to this poll, 302 voters responded to the following question.

    Over the next five years, who will be the most influential ideologue for AQ’s strategic direction?

    I’ll write more on this later in the week but here are some interesting points:

    Prior to UBL’s death,

    ‘Government’ respondents believed Zawahiri would be the most influential over the next 5 years. However, in a poll right after UBL’s death, they selected Zawahiri as the next leader at much lower rates than other groups.

    ‘Academia’ thought Libi was as important over the next 5 years as Awlaki.

    Again, ‘Private Sector’ respondents selected Awlaki at much higher rates than other groups.

    For Charts and Graphs depicting the results of these questions, visit the following link:

    http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=277

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