Although successful in a number of contexts, illicit smuggling and trafficking networks, like many businesses, fail quite often. Smugglers are arrested, corrupt officials are removed from power, and front companies are seized, all in an effort to disrupt the complex infrastructure that many of these networks operate. Alternatively, leadership is contested, operatives commit errors, and brokers have heart attacks, each of which carries the potential for group failure. In this symposium, we explore the myriad reasons why transnational criminal networks fail, focusing on existing and innovative strategies for law enforcement to disrupt and dismantle these organizations.
Drawing from a multitude of research efforts recently completed, the presentations will highlight relevant topics including: 1) targeting strategies for network leadership; 2) capacities (and limitations) of tactical and organization adaptation to law enforcement interdiction; and 3) key distinctions between supply chain and organizational dependencies for network survival. Insights from failed networks across many illicit commodities will be highlighted, including drug, human, wildlife, and weapon smuggling. The symposium will close with a new proposal for accelerating the tactical, operational, and strategic disruption of transnational criminal networks through innovative, data-driven researcher-practitioner partnerships.
Dr. Brandon Behlendorf, Ph.D. - University of Albany
Brandon Behlendorf is an Assistant Professor in the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity. Dr. Behlendorf's research utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to address policy-relevant problems within homeland and national security, drawing on theories and methods from social and computational sciences. Funded by a number of federal agencies (Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security; National Science Foundation) his research focuses on a number of themes, including: geospatial modeling of criminal and terrorist activity; network vulnerabilities of illicit trafficking networks; game theoretic approaches to border security; public perceptions of security-related authorities; and criminal decision-making processes of violent non-state actors. His work has been published in Policing, Journal of Quantitative Criminology and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, as well as numerous government reports. He received his PhD in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previously, he served as Assistant Research Director for Development and a Senior Researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), as well as an operations analyst for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Research In Brief