Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Geography Tool Sets of Pattern of Life and Socio-Cultural Analysis Being Used to Target Terrorists Like Joseph Kony

Matt Rosenberg twitted a short article about how the geographic tool sets "pattern of life" and "socio-cultural analysis" are being used to target Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.

The two tool sets are combine unique aspects of geography, spatial knowledge and regional knowledge, to assist in the defeat of terrorists.

Pattern of Life:  Pattern of life is the spatial study of where a target operates.  Places where the target eats, sleeps, works, shops, conduct operations, flees to, etc are considered.  When one can figure out where the target is at certain times, one can make analytic judgements of how the target travels and where the target will be at certain times.  If the target appears in an usually place at an unusual time then one can tell something is amiss with the target and prepare counter measures.  Also, creating judgements of where a target is allows for one to dismiss false intelligence designed to confuse pursuers.

Regional Geography:  Regional geography is the study of regions, whether a neighborhood or whole civilization-zones.  When used in targeting, the study of areas around the target allows one to see similarities and differences between where the target has and has not gone.  If one cannot find a target in the known pattern of life then regional geography can be used to find similar regions where the target could have likely gone to.

Pattern of life has long been used by police and military to find targets, whether the criminal returned to his mother's house or the terrorist went to his usual mosque on Fridays.  Meanwhile, regional geography has long been used in police work such as when the New York City Police Department mapped ethnic neighborhoods to assess where Communist activity would be in the early 1900s.  However, regional geography has only recently arisen in use with the military's investment into cultural geography.  This has been controversial in both academia, leftist academics who do not want their studies associated with the military, and within the military itself, many generals viewing cultural geography as a soft "feel good" "science".

Then Major General Michael Flynn, United States Army,  wrote about the need for more regional geography knowledge to aid the war in Afghanistan.  His advancement up the ranks and the use of both these tool sets in Africa implies that the military will continue to utilize geography in operations against terrorists like Kony.

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