Decision Making for Extreme Events: Modeling Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies to Aid Mitigation and Response Planning
Laura J. Steinberg
Recent tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake have revealed a need for methods to evaluate and plan for the impact of extreme events on critical infrastructure. In particular, awareness has been raised of the threat that a major disruption will lead to cascading failures that cross boundaries between interdependent infrastructure sectors, greatly magnifying human and economic impacts. To assist in planning for such extreme events, researchers are developing modeling tools to aid in making decisions about how best to protect critical infrastructures. We present some of the capabilities of this modeling approach as well as some of the challenges faced in developing such applications based on our experience with the Critical Infrastructure Protection Decision Support System (CIPDSS) model, developed for use by the Department of Homeland Security. A set of disruptions to road and telecommunication infrastructures is implemented in CIPDSS and the modeled disruptions to the original infrastructure as well as cascading effects on other infrastructure sectors are discussed. These simulations provide insights into the potential of this approach. Copyright 2009 by The Policy Studies Organization.
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