Irregular warfare includes organized and unorganized crime as an element. Governments which are unable to suppress criminal activity will see an increase in internal violence and institutional failure, all of which can spread to cause regional instability. U.S. military units deploying to these regions will be forced to address and/or confront criminal organizations. Key to this will be identifying the network of people involved.
Network analysis is a critical tool in an intelligence operator’s kitbag. It was critical in identifying and eliminating al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in our recent wars, but dealing with a criminal network has a different set of challenges. Not all criminal organizations follow the hierarchical model used by the Sicilian Mafia “family” structure.
It is also important to remember that international borders represent only an obstacle to be overcome by a criminal organization. This article will look at domestic and international criminal organizations and their command structures. The domestic gangs will be those which have outgrown their community focus and developed international contacts and have a minimum of 10,000 members.