In 2013, National Defense University Press published Convergence: Illicit Networks and National Security in the Age of Globalization. It was an effort to map the many issues arising from the accelerating interactions among international terrorist, transnational criminal, and networked insurgent organizations. To meet demand, over 10,000 copies were printed. It generated much discussion—including much criticism—and led the editors to conclude that the debate over how to understand the emerging threat environment was only beginning. Therefore, we would like to acknowledge and thank the many readers and critics of Convergence, for taking up the challenge and for laying out a gauntlet.
Ongoing research on the scope and dynamics of illicit network convergence indicates that this phenomenon is penetrating new domains and markets, taking on new characteristics, and continuing to morph at a velocity very hard to match. It is evident that continuing empirical analysis and thought-provoking discussion of these new dimensions are critical if the United States is to meet this challenge to both national and international security. The Center for Complex Operations (CCO) at NDU and the editors wish to acknowledge and thank the Office of the Secretary of Defense—in particular, the leadership of the Office of Counternarcotics and Global Threats, for recognizing the national security implications of this phenomenon and supporting our effort to take up the gauntlet laid out. Without their sponsorship, this project would not have materialized. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Caryn Hollis is a visionary in the struggle to counter transnational criminal organizations and emerging global threats. We also wish to recognize David Sobyra for his encouragement and early and consistent support for this NDU/CCO effort.
CCO benefits enormously from our outstanding team of volunteer interns in all of its work. The editors are especially indebted to Samantha Fletcher, Oliver Vaughn, Shawn McFall, and Chris Johnson for their assistance in proofreading and formatting these chapters. We also thank other members of the CCO staff, who provided unwavering support. In particular, the untiring efforts of Becky Harper, Dale Erickson, and Dr. Joseph Collins have been critical in enabling us to succeed. Additionally, Tamara Tanso has again proven herself a peerless professional and a perfectionist in the final preparation of Beyond Convergence. We wish also to express our deep gratitude to Vivian Edwards, Michael Mann, and the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at NDU for heroic support in the production of the first printing.
Many have advised us along the way. If we have left any unacknowledged, it is either by their request, or our oversight, which we regret. There are some who would like to have contributed but were prevented by circumstances. Nevertheless, we thank them all and look forward to engaging with them again in the future. However, our greatest appreciation goes to the authors for their enthusiasm, patience, and commitment to this project.