by Tom Pike and Eddie Brown
In August 2009, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s International Security Assistance Force mission shifted from an enemy-centric, anti-insurgency campaign to a broader, population-centric counterinsurgency. This strategy change immediately presented challenges to field of intelligence and its existing analytic methods as it struggled to cope with the complexity of population analysis. However, a wave of innovation under the name of complexity theory is spreading through mathematics, computer science, biology, economics, and sociology that do cope with the challenges of analyzing entities as complex as populations. The Emergent States Assessment (ESA) is an analytic tool that attempts to exploit this wave to support decision makers in Counterinsurgency and Stability Operations. To demonstrate the potential power of viewing populations through the lens of complexity this article examines the phenomenon of corruption in Afghanistan through the ESA framework.