Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Richard F. Deckro, PhD


This work offers the U.S. military and national security structure a methodology to analyze tension within signed networks based on social balance theory, presents a process to partition a signed network to identify likely subsets within the network, and pinpoints unique actors and relationships based on the structure of the network. Relationships identified to cause increased tension within the network are discovered and analyzed. Identifying this tension provides analysts with insight into the complexities of the network and potential relationships to target to stabilize or destabilize a network. Two Social Network Analysis models have been developed analyzing the relationships of key actors associated with the 2012-2013 conflict in Northern Mali. Relations between the terrorist group Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), several Tuareg organizations, the Malian government and other key actors are assessed, both prior to and immediately following French and other international forces involvement beginning in January 2013. The potential effectiveness of the developed methodology is demonstrated, through the Mali example, in the identification of a specific relationship between two organizations as being under tension to change; subsequently one of the organizations split, reducing the tension and irreversibly changing the network.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number