A preliminary theory of dark network resilience

R.M. Bakker, J. Raab, H.B. Milward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


A crucial contemporary policy question for governments across the globe is how to cope with international crime and terrorist networks. Many such “dark” networks—that is, networks that operate covertly and illegally—display a remarkable level of resilience when faced with shocks and attacks. Based on an in-depth study of three cases (MK, the armed wing of the African National Congress in South Africa during apartheid; FARC, the Marxist guerrilla movement in Colombia; and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, in Sri Lanka), we present a set of propositions to outline how shocks impact dark network characteristics (resources and legitimacy) and networked capabilities (replacing actors, linkages, balancing integration and differentiation) and how these in turn affect a dark network's resilience over time. We discuss the implications of our findings for policymakers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-62
JournalJournal of Policy Analysis and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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