Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Threats and Emergencies
News and Updates
Friends of CREATE,
I write with gratitude for the support we have received this year from our sponsors, and for the commitment of our faculty, students and staff to promote homeland security through integrated, innovative and impartial research and analysis.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has renewed our Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) for the next five years, enabling CREATE to receive an additional $8 million in funding. DHS has also expanded funding for our STAMINA (Science and Technology Analysis and Management of Innovation Activity) and Landscape (benefit-cost analysis) projects.
Our work this year included important studies of catastrophic health risks, terrorism, supply chain resilience, and disasters induced by climate change, all emphasized in our recent planning retreat. We created new methods of analysis for homeland security as well. CREATE’s faculty also received important honors for their research excellence.
Personally, I completed my manuscript for the book Breaking Tradition, Trust and Innovation in the American University (MIT Press) and developed other published research on university innovation. I also helped establish a new organization, the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS), of which USC is a member. I continue to bring insights from these efforts into the operation of CREATE.
CREATE Senior Research Fellow Adam Rose was selected as a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), an international 2,000-member, interdisciplinary, scholarly society. SRA cited Rose for his research in economic analysis and resilience to disasters. In addition to Rose, Senior Research Fellows Detlof von Winterfeldt and Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Senior External Fellows Paul Slovic and Vicki Bier, and long-time CREATE Advisory Board member Ralph Keeney hold the distinguished honor of SRA Fellow.
I also commend External Fellow Samrat Chatterjee from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for his best climate paper award from IEEE Homeland Security Technology for “Resilience of Urban Rail Transit Networks under Compound Natural and Opportunistic Failures,” co-authored with Jack Watson and Auroop Ganguly.
Catastrophic Health Risks
Building from our COVID-19 research program, students Mingdong Lyu and Andrew Moore and I published “Tracking COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the United States: Metrics of Pandemic Progression Derived from a Queueing Framework” in Healthcare Management Science. Our paper examines the progression of COVID-19 in 50 states during the first year of the pandemic, assessing how disease progression varied among the states, utilizing novel time-based metrics.
Other COVID-19 publications include “The COVID-19 Economic Shutdown and the Future of Flexible Workplace Practices,” published in the Transport Policy journal, by External Fellow and lead author Fynnwin Prager, and Wändi Bruine de Bruin’s co-authored paper in the Journal of Risk Research, “Effect of COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategies on Vaccination Refusal: A National Survey.”
Senior External Fellow Gilberto Montibeller authored Decision Making for Enhanced Health Security: Managing Emerging Health Threats, Making Reasoned Choices, and Allocating Scarce Resources, published in the Springer Nature International Series in Operations Research & Management Science. Montibeller (joint with Marcelo Zawadzki) also published “A Framework for Supporting Health Capability-based Planning: Identifying and Structuring Health Capabilities" in Risk Analysis. The paper provides a framework for analyzing the capabilities of a health system against multiple health threats.
CREATE’s work on methodology includes expert elicitation, resilience, network disruption and risk communication. Gilberto Montibeller and Detlof von Winterfeldt (jointly with Valentina Ferretti) published “Testing the Effectiveness of Debiasing Techniques to Reduce Overprecision in the Elicitation of Subjective Continuous Probability Distributions" in the European Journal of Operational Research.
External Fellow Noah Dormady and Adam Rose, with Ohio State University student Blain Morin, contributed a chapter to the Handbook on the Economics of Disasters on “Advances in the Empirical Estimation of Disaster Resilience.” Dormady, along with Rose and co-authors, also published “The Cost-effectiveness of Economic Resilience,” in the International Journal of Production Economics.
In other methodological work, Samrat Chatterjee co-authored “Identifying Early-Warning Indicators of Onset of Sudden Collapse in Networked Infrastructure Systems Against Sequential Disruptions” in Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. Student Katie Byrd and Senior Research Fellow Richard John published “Lies, Damned Lies, and Social Media Following Extreme Events” in Risk Analysis. The paper examined how the public distinguishes between true and false information communicated over social media following extreme events.
Senior External Fellow Todd Sandler co-authored “Effects of Defensive and Proactive Measures on Competition Between Terrorist Groups,” published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution. The paper employs a two-stage game to examine how counterterrorism measures affect competition between rival terrorist groups within the same country. Richard John also presented “A Framework for Estimating the Value of Deterrence” at the Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management (PSAM-16) Bi-Annual Conference.
Senior Fellow Lucio Soibelman and Fellow Dan Wei co-authored “A Data-driven Framework to Evaluate the Indirect Economic Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure Disruptions” in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. The paper evaluates the indirect economic impacts caused by transportation system disruptions using integrated transportation system analysis and economic impact modeling. In other supply chain work, “Complex Economic Consequence Analysis to Protect the Maritime Infrastructure,” written by Adam Rose and co-authors, received the best border paper award at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security. Rose also organized and presented “Analysis of Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Logistics Systems in Post-Conflict Zones” at a North American Regional Science Council Annual Meetings session.
CREATE’s climate change research includes economic assessment, equity studies and risk communication. Dan Wei, Adam Rose and former student Juan Machado published “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Flood Inundation Sensors” in Natural Hazards Review, emanating from the CREATE Landscape III project. The authors conducted a benefit-cost analysis of low-cost flood inundation sensors.
Senior External Fellow Ilan Noy co-authored a paper in Nature Communications, “Social Inequalities in Climate Change-Attributed Impacts of Hurricane Harvey.” The study, cited in the New York Times and the Washington Post, among other media organizations, quantifies the climate change component of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the residents of Houston. The authors found heavier climate change burden on the Latinx low-income communities in the city, which are less likely to be insured for flood damage. Noy presented his findings earlier this year at a seminar at USC, “The Costs of Extreme Weather Events Caused by Climate Change.”
Wändi Bruine de Bruin was lead author of a paper published in Climatic Change, “On the Differential Correlates of Climate Change Concerns and Severe Weather Concerns: Evidence from the World Risk Poll.” The paper identifies differences in public perception between climate change and severe weather and discusses the implications for climate change communications. Bruine de Bruin also presented “Improving Graphs for Climate Change Communications: Insights from Interviews with Policy Makers” at the INFORMS Annual Meeting.
Building from our methodological foundation of risk, behavior, economic and decision analysis, CREATE is expanding its research in several strategic directions while maintaining its commitment to reducing the threat of terrorism. Future directions include:
- Supply Chain Resilience and Equity: Investigating how to build trusted global supply chains that are both resilient in the presence of major disruptions and trusted relative to environmental, social and governance goals.
- Strategic Deterrence: Reducing threats of global conflict through multi-faceted deterrence, accounting for recent changes in the threat environment among nations.
- Catastrophic Health Risk: Building the capacity to respond to catastrophic threats to human health, preparing for the next pandemic and other healthcare emergencies.
- Climate-Induced Disasters: Creating the decision-making capacity to prepare for the risks of extreme weather events, adapting to predicted climate changes.
As we pursue these topics, our research will continue to develop frameworks for innovation through science and technology research and development, producing metrics for successful technology transition and benefit-cost analysis.
I conclude with a remembrance for Hal Bowman, one of CREATE’s original employees, who served as our GIS specialist. Hal was among the 14 people killed in the much-publicized 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. Last summer, San Bernardino County dedicated the “Curtain of Courage” monument in honor of Hal, along with the others who lost their lives or were injured in this terrible act. We end 2022 with renewed commitment to those harmed by terrorism, as well as to those who suffer in fear that they too will become the victims.
As the nation’s first Department of Homeland Security University Center of Excellence, CREATE will continue its focus on reducing threats, mitigating emergencies, and building resilience.