A Methodology for a Qualitative Assessment of Target Capabilities of the Department of Homeland Security

Principal Researcher: Detlof von Winterfeldt

Other Researchers: Mohan Mayank


This report describes the methodology for conducting a qualitative assessment of capabilities for prevention, protection, response and recovery described in the Department of Homeland Securities Target Capabilities List (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2007). This methodology was applied to assess 37 target capabilities against a terrorist attack using an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).  The description of the progression of an IED attack was based on the National Planning Scenario – 12 (NPS).  In particular, we used the IED attack tree (DFI Government Services, 2006a and b) as a basis of our qualitative model.  We thus relied on and built on two significant and existing pieces of prior work by the DHS, which helped us to maintain continuity of work and maintain conformity of language and presentation.