Cost and Benefits of Exit Monitoring Programs

Principal Investigator: Henry Willis


This work has been an extension of on going efforts to apply tools of risk and decision analysis to support risk management efforts for terrorism security.  The underlying challenge the study is addressing is how to make defensible decisions about how and where to allocate resources towards terrorism security when it is difficult to determine the benefits that result from alternative investments.  It builds upon completed CREATE work on cost-benefit analysis of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (Willis and LaTourrette), cost-benefit analysis of MANPADs countermeasures (von Winterfeldt and O’Sullivan), and critical infrastructure protection grant programs (Kleinmuntz, von Winterfeldt and Willis).   The primary focus of the work was the US-VISIT program.  In 2008, the US-VISIT program developed plans to enhance capabilities to conduct exit monitoring of non-immigrant aliens as they depart the U.S.  While discussed as a terrorism security and immigration policy measure, an assessment of the costs and benefits of enhanced exit monitoring capabilities at the land border has not been publicly reported.  With a focus of assessing the costs and benefits of exit monitoring of travelers at U.S. land borders, this project sought to further develop generalizeable approaches for conducting cost-benefit analysis of terrorism security measures.   In the process of conducting this study, two parallel risk management efforts developed.  The first was assistance to the DHS Office of Risk Management and Analysis (RMA) in support of its effort to connect risk management and budget processes through the Risk Assessment Process for Investment Decision (RAPID).  This year, the RAPID process was investigating the potential application of expert elicitation to inform threat and program effectiveness assessments.  The second was helping to the California Office of Homeland Security (CA-OHS) develop the investment justification for critical infrastructure vulnerability assessments.  For this effort, CA-OHS was looking for ways of assessing the threats, vulnerabilities and consequences from terrorism to of infrastructure protection.  Because these are topics relevant to all risk management efforts, helping RMS and CA-OHS evaluate the use of expert elicitation opportunities to learn more about best practices in this regards.