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Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2005

Session Schedule & Abstracts

W11 - Symposium
Risk Analysis and Border Security

Ireland B   1:30-3:00 pm

Chair(s): H. Willis

Since September 11, border security measures have proliferated. The initial response was understandable and has created a program that is intended to provide comprehensive, layered protection of U.S. borders. However, as the Department of Homeland Security looks to extend and refine these initiatives a more deliberate approach is necessary. This symposium provides examples of how risk analysis can be used to evaluate and formulate border security policies. This symposium presents results from the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy (CTRMP) and Infrastructure, Safety and Environment (ISE), the University of Southern California Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Each of these centers combines engineering, economics, risk analysis, and policy analysis to inform public policy decision making. Henry Willis (RAND) and Scott Matthews (Carnegie Mellon) will moderate the symposium. To begin the discussions, Heather Rosoff (USC) will demonstrate how project risk analysis tools can be used to assess vulnerability by analyzing the probability of success of a dirty bomb attack at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Next, Charles Meade (RAND) will present results of a broad based scenario analysis to examine the impacts of a terrorist attack involving a 10 kiloton nuclear explosion in the Port of Long Beach, illustrating how risk analysis can be used to assess consequences. The symposium concludes with two papers that present applications of benefit-cost analysis to evaluate specific border security proposals. Henry Willis (RAND) will present an analysis of efforts to scan 100% of containers entering U.S. ports and Scott Matthews (Carnegie Mellon) will present an analysis of the US-VISIT program.


W11.1  Analysis of the Risks and Consequences of Terrorist Events. Rosoff H. B., von Winterfeldt D.; University of Southern California's CREATE

Abstract: The Department of Homeland Security publicly has recognized the vulnerability of ports nationwide to terrorist attacks. This project focuses on the susceptibility of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Together these ports are the third busiest in the world. Thirty-six percent of all United States imports travel through their entranceways and have a value of about $212 billion per year. An attack upon the ports has the potential for serious economic and health - both physical and psychological - damages. This analysis examines thirty-six scenarios of possible dirty bomb attacks in the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors. Using project risk analysis tools, we estimate the success probability of such an attack. Plume models are used to estimate both short term health effects and long term cancer deaths. An input-output model provides estimates of the economic consequences of a prolonged port shutdown.

W11.2  Analyzing the ecomnomic impacts of a catastrophic terrorist attack on the Port of Long Beach. Meade Charles, Molander Roger; RAND Corporation

Abstract: We have carried out a broad based scenario analysis to examine the impacts of a terrorist attack involving a 10 kiloton nuclear explosion in the Port of Long Beach. Considering the blast effects, fallout patterns, and local infrastructure, we have characterized the extremely challenging circumstances that would follow this attack. Using strategic games with the insurance, business, and policy communities we have examined the economic impacts that could follow this event. Insights from these games, and a literature review suggests that there could be systemic impacts on the global economy following a catastrophic attack on the Port of Long Beach. There are two principal drivers for this result: the economic importance of the global shipping supply chain which would be severely hampered by the attack and the well-documented fragility of global financial systems. We emphasize the need for further modeling and analysis to improve our understanding of possible impacts from catastrophic attacks and to identify policy solutions to speed recovery from these events.

W11.3  Evaluating the viability of 100 per cent container inspection at America's ports. Martonosi S. E., Ortiz D. S., Willis H. H.*; Massachusetts Institute of Technology and RAND Corporation

Abstract: As US maritime security adapts to the terrorist threat, we argue that quantitative analysis should be used to evaluate security initiatives and present a case study of one proposed measure - 100% scanning of containers entering the US. By assessing the minimum attack likelihood required to justify increased inspection costs, we conclude that 100% scanning is cost effective only if the attack damages or likelihood of an attack are quite high. Even so, additional land and labor transaction costs could render adoption infeasible unless scanning technologies improve significantly.

W11.4  Some Issues in Airline Security: A Quantitative Perspective. Martonosi S.E.*, Barnett A.; Harvey Mudd College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Abstract: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, aviation security policy has remained a focus of national attention. Intense debate has surrounded some of the security measures implemented in the wake of the attacks, while other measures have been put in place with little explanation or discussion. We develop mathematical models to address some prominent problems in aviation security, namely whether securing aviation deserves priority over other potential targets; whether passenger pre-screening systems to identify potentially high-risk passengers are useful; and whether explosives detection policies for cargo, airmail and checked luggage carried on passenger aircraft are cost-effective. These mathematical models can help clarify the reasoning behind qualitative statements about aviation security, and point out the limitations in such reasoning.

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