Prestigious Department of Defense Grant Awarded to USC CREATE to Study Transportation Logistics in Post-Conflict Zones

Re-posted with permission from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy website

February 18, 2021 – USC’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) recently received a $972,000 grant from the US Department of Defense (DOD) for a study on “Economic Viability, Resilience, and Sustainability of Logistics Systems in Post-Conflict Zones.” The funding support comes from the Minerva Program, the premier DOD source of basic social and behavioral science research.

CREATE Director and USC Price School of Public Policy Research Professor, Adam Rose, is the lead principal investigator. The leadership team involves prominent researchers from four other partner institutions: Kieran Donaghy of Cornell, Terry Clower of George Mason, Terry Friesz of Penn State, and Michael Ferris of Wisconsin. “My colleagues and I are very excited about this research opportunity,” said Rose. “Basic research grants are increasingly scarce these days, and this one will provide us with an opportunity to do some truly path-breaking research on a pressing topic.”

Rose pointed out that analysts have concluded there is no stronger breeding ground for terrorism than the existence of a failed state, and that countries can’t survive without viable, sustainable and resilient transportation logistics systems in this day and age. Economies of countries like Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have seen the system severely damaged in recent years by war, technological accidents, and neglect.

The proposed research involves high-level extensions and synergies among dynamic spatial general equilibrium modeling, game theory, computational mathematics, and dynamical and complex systems. It will also involve expert elicitations of analysts and stakeholders in diverse fields, including planning, transportation, economics, and operations research.

Rose is looking forward to the opportunity to work with several long-standing colleagues in the field of regional science, which is especially well-suited to the study because it is geared toward evaluating areas with a variety of geographic boundaries in a holistic manner.

CREATE Director and USC Price School research professor, Adam Rose (Photo by Tom Queally)

“Regional science–a problem-driven, interdisciplinary, and policy-relevant discipline—has always been about addressing socioeconomic problems in spatial contexts,” said co-principal investigator Kieran Donaghy, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the City and Regional Planning Department at Cornell. “This ambitious study will embrace the daunting challenge of analyzing the rebuilding of a system of interdependent infrastructure systems in a post-conflict context to support reconstruction of a society’s industrial base by drawing upon the expertise of computer scientists, economists, engineers, logistics experts, operations researchers, and planners.” 

“A key element of this study includes the gathering of information from operational experts,” adds George Mason University Professor Terry Clower. “This will ground our theoretical constructs in the practices of international and domestic freight movement in complex physical and cultural settings.”

Ultimately, Donaghy concluded, “We intend to establish a new paradigm for complexity analysis of logistical systems and to apply it to a region that is especially in need of it.”

The project also involves prominent regional scientists Professor Peter Nijkamp of the Free University (Amsterdam) and Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hewings of the University of Illinois. Other USC participants include CREATE Associate Director and Psychology Department Professor, Richard John, and Project Advisory Board Members and Price School Professors Gen Giuliano and Marlon Boarnet, as well as Urban Planning PhD student and former transportation logistics manager for Toyota North America, Susan Dexter. 

Other Advisory Board members include: prominent Regional Scientist and Dean Emeritus of Public Policy at George Mason, Kingsley Haynes; UCSD economics professor and terrorism expert, Eli Berman; former Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, Lt. Gen. (Ret) Jeffrey W. Talley; and Commander Camilla Bosanquet (U.S. Coast Guard, ret.).

The USC student newspaper, the Daily Trojan, has published a feature article on CREATE’s receipt of the Minerva grant. We take great pride in the fact that our research is of significant interest to our students. Please see the article, which also places the grant within the broader context of CREATE’s research objectives: