A decision framework for managing risk to airports from terrorist attack

Abdollah Shafieezadeh, Eun J. Cha, Bruce R. Ellingwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents an asset-level security risk management framework to assist stakeholders of critical assets with allocating limited budgets for enhancing their safety and security against terrorist attack. The proposed framework models the security system of an asset, considers various threat scenarios, and models the sequential decision framework of attackers during the attack. Its novel contributions are the introduction of the notion of partial neutralization of attackers by defenders, estimation of total loss from successful, partially successful, and unsuccessful actions of attackers at various stages of an attack, and inclusion of the effects of these losses on the choices made by terrorists at various stages of the attack. The application of the proposed method is demonstrated in an example dealing with security risk management of a U.S. commercial airport, in which a set of plausible threat scenarios and risk mitigation options are considered. It is found that a combination of providing blast-resistant cargo containers and a video surveillance system on the airport perimeter fence is the best option based on minimum expected life-cycle cost considering a 10-year service period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-306
Number of pages15
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Civil infrastructure security
  • Decision analysis
  • Probabilistic risk analysis
  • Risk management
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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