threat objects, radiation transport, and detector response to simulate performance and use physical experiments to validate the models’ fidelity and enable developers to refine the models iteratively. Much of the foundation for modeling sources, radiation transport, and detector response is already in place in the national laboratories. This kind of interaction between computer models and physical tests is standard for the development of high-technology equipment and is essential for building scientific confidence.
The idea of an iterative approach also extends to deployment: the committee recommends a process for incremental deployment and continuous improvement, with experience leading to refinements in both technologies and operations over time. As a first step in this process DHS should deploy its currently unused low-rate initial production ASPs for primary and secondary inspection at various sites to assess their capabilities in multiple environments without investing in a much larger acquisition at the outset.
Cost-Benefit: DHS’ definition of a “significant increase in operational effectiveness” is a modest set of goals. Preliminary estimates indicate that the cost increases from replacing the PVT/RIID combination with ASPs outweigh the cost reductions from operational efficiencies. Therefore, a careful cost-benefit analysis will need to reveal the advantages of ASPs among alternatives. The cost-benefit analysis was not complete when this report was written, but it should include three key elements: a clear statement of the objectives of the program; an assessment of meaningful alternatives; and a comprehensive, credible and transparent analysis of in-scope benefits and costs. The committee recommends that DHS not proceed with further procurement until it has addressed the findings and recommendations in this report and the ASP is shown to be a favored option in the cost-benefit analysis.