Complexity Science and Homeland Security Essay

Submitted By beetlejuice02
Words: 2580
Pages: 11

Complexity Science and Security We have always known that understanding the enemy is the key to success and survival; however, we have been going about it the entirely wrong way and have suffered the consequences in the 9/11 atrocities and the subsequent unending and seemingly unwinnable War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the globe. The traditional way of breaking down the enemy into infinitely small pieces and learning each piece’s history and motivation overstretches our resources and lacks all the valuable insight of a method based in Complexity Science. By modeling our problem sets on simplified generic individuals and groups and focusing on their interactions and the effects of different feedback, we get a very realistic overall view of group collective behavior.[i] This approach will produce a better chance at understanding, predicting, and eventually manipulating and preventing terrorist activities emerging from the global Muslim community, which is the goal and incredible value of Complexity Science. How does Complexity Science apply directly to Islamic terrorism and what conclusions can we draw to make our security plans against the threat more effective? This is what I’m here to talk to you about today. In terms of Complexity Science, the global Muslim community is a complex system, and attacks carried out by radical Islamic terrorists are emergent phenomena that develop in the system. From this perspective we can gain a more constructive understanding of the Islamic terrorist menace and work out ways to make ourselves more secure. First, I will discuss the role of feedback and the different influences within the Muslim community, including tribe, history, and religion that effect how individuals and groups interact with each other and how they make decisions. Second, the war is asymmetrical in nature due to the vastly different constraints, or lack thereof that model both U.S. and violent Islamic tactics. We will explore this type of feedback and its inevitable and predictable effects on terrorist policy. Finally, Complexity Science says the system can be manipulated by slightly changing, adding, or subtracting a variable or pressure in the group dynamic.[ii] If we can alter the path of one subgroup through varying feedback devices, the entire course of the system can be altered, hopefully away from terrorist attacks against the United States of America. Terrorism is an emergent phenomena in a complex system that can be prevented with security policy and intelligence prepared through Complexity Theory. Wars are fought by groups of people fighting over scarce resources. These groups of people and the individuals they consist of make choices based on past and present feedback.[iii] Feedback is just information added to the system. The global Muslim community, including Islamic terrorists, is comprised of individuals who behave based on a long accumulated record of feedback that manifests itself in tribal, religious, and historical influences. In Arab culture, balanced opposition and the tribal decent system are the dominant themes and central structures that shape security and social life.[iv] Everyone is a member of cased sets of kin groups, ranging from very large to very small. These groups are unconditionally responsible for the defense of each member and responsible for harm any member does to outsiders. Deterrence lies in the balance between opponents, and security is provided through collective self help, with group membership demanding a collective response.[v] Any potential aggressor knows that his target is not solitary or meager; he is, at least in principle, a formidable formation much the same size as his. Balanced opposition has had many effects on Arab culture that affect how group and individuals within the Islamic movement make decisions and relate with each other. Autonomy, freedom, military strength, and honor are valued. Weakness, oppression,