Networks and national security

Mon, 06 Feb 2012 09:19:00 +1100

In the post-New York, September 11, 2001 world, ‘networks’ increasingly play an important part in coordinating national security – both domestically and internationally.

Just how important, and also how their effectiveness can be improved, is revealed in a new book by Deakin University’s Dr Chad Whelan titled Networks and National Security: Dynamics, Effectiveness and Organisation

“Networks as sets of autonomous organisations working together to achieve individual and shared goals are becoming increasingly important across many areas of public administration," Dr Whelan said.

“However, while the importance of networks is well known, most analysts would agree that we do not know enough about the dynamics and effectiveness of networks, particularly in relation to their internal operations. 

“This is a significant problem as security, intelligence, law enforcement and many other agencies are increasingly required to organise in and through networks to provide national security.”

In his comprehensive analysis, Dr Whelan presents a highly innovative, qualitative study of networks in the field of national security. 

Developing our understanding of 'organisational networks' in organisational theory, management and public administration, and 'security networks' in criminology and international relations, he presents a multi-disciplinary analysis of network forms of organisation. 

Dr Whelan puts forward a methodological framework involving five levels of analysis - structural, cultural, policy, technological and relational - with which we can better analyse and understand the dynamics and effectiveness of networks. 

 “This framework is applied to public sector networks operating in the field of counter-terrorism in Australia in a way that is highly relevant to researchers and practitioners in many contexts where government departments and agencies, and the private sector, need to work together,” Dr Whelan said.

The book deals with the important subjects of how to develop and structure networks, manage organisational cultures and sub-cultures within and between networks, design and use information and communication systems more effectively to support networks, and the psychology of interpersonal and inter-organisational relationships in networks.

Networks and National Security: Dynamics, Effectiveness and Organisation features a wealth of first-hand accounts from security, intelligence, law enforcement agents concerning the inside operations of networks and conditions promoting their effectiveness.

It is therefore essential reading for anyone interested in the critically important subject of inter-agency coordination in the field of national security. 

It is a subject on which Dr Whelan is well qualified to comment.

A lecturer in Criminology at Deakin he has previously worked in security and risk management and currently lectures in the fields of serious crime, terrorism, intelligence and security.

He is undertaking a number of multidisciplinary research projects involving developing techniques for analysing and managing networks in the field of national security.

His book already garnered a number of positive reviews.

Grant Wardlaw from the Australian National University wrote: “The importance of both micro- and macro-level networks to the organisation and operation of the business of national security has only recently begun to be widely appreciated. This book provides an outstanding analysis of the dynamics and effectiveness of security networks that will fascinate scholars and practitioners alike. An original contribution that will provoke further research.”

Benoit Dupont, Université de Montréal, Canada, wrote: “Security networks are notoriously hard to study. This book provides one of the first comprehensive empirical accounts of their structure, culture and effectiveness in a national security context. By systematically examining the multiple dimensions that influence their operations, it considerably enhances the conceptual toolbox needed to understand these complex organisational arrangements.”

Read further information about the book, including the introduction and full contents.

Enrol in courses featuring Dr Whelan.


Dr Chad Whelan
In his comprehensive analysis, Dr Whelan presents a highly innovative, qualitative study of networks in the field of national security.
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  • Networks as sets of autonomous organisations working together to achieve individual and shared goals are becoming increasingly important across many areas of public administration.
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20th August 2012