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Decision Support for Countering Terrorist Threats against Transportation Networks

NCJ Number
Journal of Strategic Security Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2009 Pages: 43-64
Richard Adler, Ph.D.; Jeff Fuller
Date Published
September 2009
22 pages
This article examines a dynamic decision support methodology for use in counter-terrorism decision support.
The definition of classic risk assessment is to identify relevant threats and estimate their relative likelihoods and expected impacts. This article examines the use of risk assessment methodologies for terrorist attacks. For terrorism risks, threats are evaluated by estimating the capability and intent of terrorists to engage in specific types of attacks against identified targets. The article discusses an example of this type of evaluation, the maritime security analysis model (MSRAM), developed by the United States Coast Guard to analyze the threat of attacks in and around the Nation's ports and waterways. The article examines how terrorism risks should be managed once the threats have been analyzed and discusses additional risk mitigation factors that need to be included in the assessments. The remainder of the article is an in-depth examination and discussion of TRANSEC, a decision support tool that addresses the core aspects of managing terrorism risk that relate to transportation systems. This system assists officials in evaluating "risk reduction strategies by projecting the consequences of proposed security measures and comparing their capabilities (and costs) to reduce risk from terrorist threats over time and across alternate future conditions." The benefits of using TRANSEC for terrorist risk assessment include a safe virtual environment for practicing counter-terrorism strategies and learning from simulated mistakes and the ability to apply its underlying decision support methodology and software tools to other critical homeland security decisions. Figures, tables, and references