Clandestine Cell System
A clandestine cell structure is a method for organizing a group of people in such a way that it can more effectively resist penetration by an opposing organization. Depending on the group's philosophy, its operational area, the communications technologies available, and the nature of the mission, it can range from a strict hierarchy to an extremely distributed organization. It is also a method used by criminal organizations, undercover operatives, and unconventional warfare (UW) led by special forces. Historically, clandestine organizations have avoided electronic communications, because signals intelligence is a strength of conventional militaries and counterintelligence organizations.
In the context of tradecraft, covert and clandestine are not synonymous. The adversary is aware that a covert activity is happening, but does not know who is doing it, and certainly not their sponsorship. Clandestine activities, however, if successful, are completely unknown to the adversary, and their function, such as espionage, would be neutralized if there was any awareness of the activity. A covert cell structure is tantamount to a contradiction in terms, because the point of the cell structure is that its details are completely hidden from the opposition.
A sleeper cell refers to a cell, or isolated grouping of sleeper agents that lies dormant until it receives orders or decides to act.
Read more about Clandestine Cell System: Parallel Organizations, External Support, Models of Insurgency and Associated Cell Characteristics, Classic Models For Cell System Operations, Non-traditional Models, Exemplified By Al-Qaeda
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