Analytical Capability to Better Understand and Anticipate Extremist Shifts Within Populations in Failing States
Authors: Michael L. Bernard, Asmeret B. Bier
Abstract: The difficulty in adequately assessing geopolitical and sociocultural dynamics of extremist groups has led to failures in understanding, anticipating, and effectively responding to shifts in their movements and allegiances. Recent attacks in Africa highlight the need to more precisely understand and anticipate changes in societal attitudes and behaviors due to radicalization. This is particularly important as new extremist cells and affiliates have sprung up in parts of Southeast Europe, Asia, and Africa. A significant concern is their stated intent to plan and conduct attacks against populations within these regions. This paper describes an effort to build upon existing capabilities to assess the phenomena that gives rise to the support for extremism, shifts in allegiances, and active engagement in violent acts against indigenous populations. The focus of this effort is to assess how the dynamics of allegiance formation between various groups and society are impacted by conflict and by third-party interventions. We also seek to help determine how and why extremist allegiances co-evolve over time due to changing geopolitical, sociocultural, and military conditions. The aim of this paper is to discuss our initial effort to assess the dynamic interactions between an extremist group and an indigenous population over time.
Keywords: Cognitive Modeling, Behavior Influence Assessment, Extremist Groups, Social Modeling, Systems Modeling
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