Review of the Department of Homeland Security’s Approach to RISK ANALYSIS
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
Support for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security under sponsor award HSHQDC-08-C-00090. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. government.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
Committee to Review the Department of Homeland Security’s Approach to Risk Analysis
John F. Ahearne, Chair, Sigma Xi (Executive Director Emeritus),
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Gregory B. Baecher,
University of Maryland, College Park
Vicki M. Bier,
University of Wisconsin, Madison1
Exponent, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia
Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, Illinois2
Ernest R. Frazier, Sr.,
Countermeasures Assessment and Security Experts, Middletown, Delaware
BAE Systems, McLean, Virginia
Roger E. Kasperson,
Clark University (Emeritus), Worcester, Massachusetts
Donald Prosnitz, Consultant,
Walnut Creek, California
Joseph V. Rodricks,
ENVIRON, Arlington, Virginia
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
Mitchell J. Small,
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ellis M. Stanley, Sr.,
Dewberry, Los Angeles, California
Stephen D. Parker, Study Director
Scott T. Weidman, Deputy Study Director
Stephan A. Parker, Scholar Associate
Glenn E. Schweitzer, Scholar Associate
Ellen A. de Guzman, Research Associate
Stephen Russell, Senior Program Assistant
The events of September 11, 2001, changed perceptions, rearranged national priorities, and produced significant new government entities, most notably the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Whereas the principal mission of DHS is to lead national efforts to secure the nation against those forces that wish to do harm, the department also has responsibilities in regard to preparation for and response to other hazards and disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, and other “natural” disasters. Created in 2003, DHS is large and complex, with 22 “components,” some of which were well established prior to the department’s creation and others that were new creations along with the department. Across the department, whether in the context of preparedness, response, or recovery from terrorism, illegal entry to the country, or natural disasters, both the previous and the current DHS Secretaries have stated a commitment to processes and methods that feature risk assessment as a critical component for making better-informed decisions.
The difficulties in developing a risk-based framework and activities for decisions across DHS are daunting, largely due to the great uncertainties in understanding the suite of threats. In concept, however, risk assessment is believed to provide a good opportunity for sound analysis and consistent decision support. Against this backdrop, the U.S. Congress asked the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to review and assess the activities of DHS related to risk analysis (P.L. 110-161, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008). Subsequently, a contract featuring the Statement of Task shown in Boxes S-1 and 1-1 was agreed upon by the National Academies and DHS officials to support this study. Our committee was appointed in October 2008 to carry out the study. The committee was a multidisciplinary group with technical, public policy, and social science expertise and experience concerning the areas of DHS’s responsibilities.
During a 15-month study period, our full committee met 5 times and subgroups of the committee met another 11 times with DHS officials and representatives of a variety of organizations to gather information. (See Appendix C for a chronology of our meetings and visits and Appendix D for a list of individuals who contributed information and perspectives to our efforts.) At most of our meetings we received briefings from numerous DHS officials on various aspects of our charge.
The task of reviewing a large set of continually evolving activities across an organization as large and diverse as DHS presented difficulties for the committee. Although DHS is responsible for all aspects of homeland security, which
includes planning for and responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes, the report is weighted toward terrorism because that is where DHS efforts are weighted. Throughout, however, the committee was mindful of its chief objective: to help DHS by critiquing and providing advice on improving the risk-informed basis for decision making across the department. We began with a good appreciation for the difficulty of the task and that appreciation only grew as we learned more about relevant activities and their inherent challenges. We hope that this report is helpful to DHS as it proceeds with implementation of its plans.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the NRC in making its published report as sound as possible and will ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: John T. Christian, consulting engineer; Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University; William H. Hooke, American Meteorological Society; Howard Kunreuther, Wharton Risk Management Center; Linda Landesman, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation; Stephen M. Robinson, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kathleen J. Tierney, University of Colorado at Boulder; Detlof von Winterfeldt, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; and Henry H. Willis, RAND Corporation.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Patrick Atkins, Pegasus Capital Investors (Retired) and Lynn R. Goldman, Johns Hopkins University. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank the committee members for their conscientious work, the help of DHS staff, and the dedicated work of the Academies staff.
John F. Ahearne, Chair
AEP Annual Exceedance Probability
BARDA Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
BTRA Biological Threat Risk Assessment
CAF Critical Asset Factors
CBP U.S. Customs and Border Protection
CBRN Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear
CFATS Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards
CIKR Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources
CITA Critical Infrastructure Threat Assessment Division (DHS)
CREATE Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events
CREM Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling (EPA)
CTRA Chemical Terrorism Risk Assessment
DHHS Department of Health and Human Services
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DOJ Department of Justice
DoD Department of Defense
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
ERM Enterprise Risk Management
EVPI Expected Value of Perfect Information
EVPIX Expected Value of Perfect Information About X
EVSI Expected Value of Sample Information
GAO Government Accountability Office
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
HITRAC Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center
HPS Hurricane Protection System
HSGP Homeland Security Grant Program
HSPD Homeland Security Presidential Directive
I&A Office of Intelligence & Analysis (DHS)
IP Office of Infrastructure Protection (DHS)
iCBRN Integrated Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear
ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement (DHS)
IECGP Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program
IRMF Integrated Risk Management Framework
IT Information Technology
IVA Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessment
MKB Models Knowledge Base
MSRAM Maritime Security Risk Analysis Model
NFIP National Flood Insurance Program
NIPP National Infrastructure Protection Plan
NISAC National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center
NMSRA National Maritime Strategic Risk Assessment
NRC National Research Council
OMB Office of Management and Budget
PANYNJ Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
PMI Protective Measure Index
PPBE Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution
PRA Probabilistic Risk Analysis
PSA Protective Security Advisor
PSGP Port Security Grant Program
QRA Quantitative Risk Analysis
RAMCAP Risk Analysis and Management for Critical Asset Protection
RAPID Risk Analysis Process for Informed Decision Making
RFI Request for Information
RMA Office of Risk Management and Analysis
RMAP Risk Management Analysis Process
RMAT Risk Management Analysis Tool
RMS Risk Management Solutions
RRAP Regional Resiliency Assessment Project
RSC Risk Steering Committee (DHS)
S&T Science and Technology Directorate (DHS)
SHIRA Strategic Homeland Infrastructure Risk Assessment
SHSP State Homeland Security Program
SME Subject Matter Expert
SSP Site Security Plan
START Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
SVA Security Vulnerability Assessment
TCL Target Capabilities List
TRAM Terrorism Risk Assessment and Management
TSA Transportation Security Administration
TSGP Transit Security Grant Program
UASI Urban Areas Security Initiative
USCG U.S. Coast Guard
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
VOI Value of Information
WMD Weapons of Mass Destruction