I was interested (/horrified) to learn that Al-Qaeda operates as a scale-free network, and existswithout a centre. In removing this hierarchical system, the risk of the group falling like jenga when one vital piece is removed, is minimized. It was a little confronting to hear Adrian say we needed to learn from terrorism, and that the army system had changed to mirror the distributed network layout. But it is smart thinking. It allows each member to have more agency and perform as an independent cell, essentially “freeing” people from the command and control model. Apart the stability and longevity of this structure, I feel like there must also be psychological repercussions; positive ones. In removing the stereotypical hierarchy of an organisation, each member is made to feel valued, like a cog in the system rather than a lower-rung worker. I feel like this redistribution of power must both keep egos in check, and curb any desire for mutiny. It would just be more reassuring if we’d come up with this system instead of the terrorists…


A visualisation of the Al-Qaeda network

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