This award was funded through the Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation competition, a joint venture between NSF and the Department of Defense.
Understanding the utility and effectiveness of government, and in particular US government, tactics and strategies in influencing the frequency and severity of dissident' tactics and strategies is critical to successfully limiting violent terrorist activity. This research will address this question by specifying a complex adaptive systems model of government-dissident-mass public interactions developed from disparate social science literatures and military doctrine. Specifically, the model considers (1) how mass support for political violence affects the ebb and flow of government-dissident interactions and the emergence and evolution of social networks, (2) how US government diplomatic, information, military, and economic strategies yield intended, unintended, direct, and indirect effects on levels of political violence and the strength of social networks, and (3) how the evolution and strength of networks and the intensity of mass support affects levels of government repression. Implications of this model will be tested using bilinear mixed effects statistical models. The project makes contributions in both the academic and policy arenas ranging from improved academic understanding of government and dissident tactical choices to informing the efforts of practitioners involved in confronting violent challengers. The project has implications for how to constrain and limit violent and terrorist activities around the world and particularly in South, East, and Southeast Asia. Moreover, the project produces a set of extensive linked datasets on actors, groups, governments, foreign actors and their activities as well as their characteristics and network structures for 31 countries from 1997-2008. Finally, the project facilitates the professional development of graduate and undergraduate researchers by employing them as research apprentices, exposing them to new methodologies, and acquainting them with interdisciplinary studies of violent political conflict.