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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.


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1547-7355
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Inspections to Avert Terrorism: Robustness Under Severe Uncertainty

L. Joe Moffitt1 / John K. Stranlund2 / Barry C. Field3

1Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

2Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

3Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Volume 2, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: 10.2202/1547-7355.1134, September 2005

Publication History

Published Online:
2005-09-30

Protecting against terrorist attacks requires making decisions in a world in which attack probabilities are largely unknown. The potential for very large losses encourages a conservative perspective, in particular toward decisions that are robust. But robustness, in the sense of assurance against extreme outcomes, ordinarily is not the only desideratum in uncertain environments. We adopt Yakov Ben-Haim’s (2001b) model of information gap decision making to investigate the problem of inspecting a number of similar targets when one of the targets may be attacked, but with unknown probability. We apply this to a problem of inspecting a sample of incoming shipping containers for a terrorist weapon. While it is always possible to lower the risk of a successful attack by inspecting more vessels, we show that robustness against the failure to guarantee a minimum level of expected utility might not be monotonic. Robustness modeling based on expected utility and incorporating inspection costs yields decision protocols that are a useful alternative to traditional risk analysis.

Keywords: Terrorism; Robustness; Severe Uncertainty; Port Security

Citing Articles

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[1]
Daniel Hine and Jim W. Hall
Water Resources Research, 2010, Volume 46, Number 1, Page n/a
[2]
Vicki M. Bier and Naraphorn Haphuriwat
Annals of Operations Research, 2011, Volume 187, Number 1, Page 137
[3]
Yakov Ben-Haim, Clifford C. Dacso, Jonathon Carrasco, and Nithin Rajan
International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, 2009, Volume 50, Number 7, Page 1046
[4]
John K. Stranlund and Yakov Ben-Haim
Journal of Environmental Management, 2008, Volume 87, Number 3, Page 443
[5]
BARRY SCHWARTZ, YAKOV BEN-HAIM, and CLIFF DACSO
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2011, Volume 41, Number 2, Page 209

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