Visual Analysis of Social Networks in a Counter-Insurgency Context


  1. Lecocq, R.
  2. Lavigne, V.
  3. Gouin, D.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
Over the last several years, the Canadian Forces (CF) have been called to conduct operations taking place in very complex counter-insurgency (COIN) environments. The Canadian COIN doctrine emphasizes the political and social issues that are an intrinsic part of the current CF operations. In parallel, literature as well as our allies’ military practice and research reiterate the value of analysing social networks in order to increase situational awareness in such contexts. With this regard, Defence R&D Canada has initiated a research project to explore an intelligence capability for social networks analysis (SNA) in a COIN context. The paper first describes the SNA capability approach encompassed within this research project. Second, it mentions some of the perceived visualisation requirements for such a SNA capability for the CF. This would include supporting the realization of five essential functionalities related to the capability: (1) Characterizing COIN strategy and objectives being pursued; (2) Specifying data sources used to represent and analyse the social network (SN); (3) Representing the SN of interest; (4) Analysing SNs and enabling sense-making; and (5) Ensuring SNA products usability. Finally, the paper highlights some of the foreseen challenges for such a SNA capability and the corresponding usage of visualisation.
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2011-599 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jun 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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