CREATE Director Gives Keynote Address “Decision Sciences in the War on Terrorism”

Stephen Hora, Director of CREATE, is the keynote speaker at the International Conference on Decision Sciences in Taipei, Taiwan July 12 – 16. 

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Keynote Abstract:

The events of 9/11/2001 (New York), 3/11/2004 (Madrid), and 7/7/2005 (London) gave notice that the isolation provided by borders, oceans, and distance were no longer sufficient to ensure security. The western world was changed irrevocably by the terrorism that had migrated into its midst. Thus, the U.S. Congress appointed the 9/11 commission to study why the events at the World Trade Center and elsewhere had not been detected and thwarted.

An outgrowth of the recommendations of the commission was the recognition that the problem solving capabilities within the U.S. university system had not been engaged in the fight against terrorism. In FY 2004, the President instructed the Department of Homeland Security to establish the Office of University Programs which, among other things, undertook the creation of a network of national centers of excellence to study terrorism and to harness the knowledge and expertise of the country’s university system in the battle to secure America.

The first center, established at the University of Southern California, was tasked with bringing Risk Analysis, Economics, and Operations Research to bear on resolving security issues. CREATE (The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events) has now been in existence for seven years and has produced a rich and diverse assortment of products. All told, more 200 studies have been conducted by CREATE, some generating tools that are being employed by various governmental agencies to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of counterterrorism measures.

Notable projects include the analysis of active MANPADS countermeasure requirements for commercial passenger planes. More efficient countermeasures were identified that helped avoid misdirected spending of $35 billion over a ten-year period. CREATE researchers have employed randomization methods that introduce unpredictability into security practices and thereby defeat terrorist attempts at surveillance. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are now serving as test beds for the development of risk and asset visualization tools to enhance interagency cooperation and effectiveness. 

CREATE is also modeling the intelligent deployment of layered systems of security measures in the lower Manhattan and will later provide appraisals of the true costs of security and the potential impacts on economic activity. Decision science tools that have been most useful in these endeavors include decision analysis, game theory, multiattribute utility, queuing models, reliability analysis, simulation, and computable general equilibrium models.

Success at CREATE has been build on partnerships. More than twenty higher education institutions around the world partner with CREATE. Notable faculty from business schools, engineering, economics, psychology, computer science, communication and many other fields have contributed to CREATE projects. CREATE also partners with national and local agencies. The center is fortunate to have Southern California as a living research and education laboratory.