Port Security Risk and Resource Management System

Principal Investigator: Michael Orosz


The primary focus of this research is to develop a risk assessment and security resource allocation system targeting seaport operations.   Although initially focused on the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (POLA/LB), this project addresses a major challenge faced by operators of all seaports and other critical infrastructures; determining the proper balance between increasing infrastructure safety, maintaining or maximizing business throughput and minimizing the impact on the environment.  Often these three objectives are at odds with one another (e.g., increasing safety by implementing additional scanning technologies can lead to container/truck traffic slow-down with a corresponding increase in pollutants spewed into the air).   The Port Security Risk and Resource Management System (PortSec) is designed to address this challenge. When fully implemented, PortSec will support both tactical day-to-day security allocation decision-making and long-term strategic security planning.   The system is intended to support two types of users:  

  • Port Security Officer – tactical responsibility for daily security arrangements with limited additional resources that can be reasonably reallocated on an as-needed basis
  • Port Security Analyst – strategic analysis of potential long-term resource allocation investments for port security

For tactical usage (Figure 1), PortSec will provide up-to-date risk assessment and visualization analytics for both identified areas of interest (AOIs) and for the overall port complex.  These assessments reflect current countermeasure resource allocations, planned and unplanned events, and collected intelligence on possible threats.   These assessments are frequently updated to reflect changing port conditions and assessed threats.   The port security officer attempts to reduce overall risk by re-allocating available counter-measure resources.  After each adjustment, the system calculates a new risk assessment score – providing near real-time feedback to the port security officer.  In addition, the port security officer can anticipate near-future events based on projected events, counter-measure resource allocation and availability, and intelligence about possible future threats.   The advantage of the tactical PortSec is that the decision-maker can quickly and dynamically visualize where high risk areas exists and, just as importantly, quickly discover newly exposed areas (i.e., increased risk) that may result when counter-measure resources are shifted from what was a low-risk AOI to a high-risk AOI, now leaving the once low-risk AOI exposed to potential attack.