Optimal Resource Allocation for Defense of Targets Based on Differing Measures of Attractiveness

Bier, V.M., Haphuriwat, N., Menoyo, J., Zimmerman, R. & Culpen, A.
Risk Analysis, Vol. 28, No. 3.

This article describes the results of applying a rigorous computational model to the problem of the optimal defensive resource allocation among potential terrorist targets. In particular, our study explores how the optimal budget allocation depends on the cost effectiveness of security investments, the defender's valuations of the various targets, and the extent of the defender's uncertainty about the attacker's target valuations. We use expected property damage, expected fatalities, and two metrics of critical infrastructure (airports and bridges) as our measures of target attractiveness. Our results show that the cost effectiveness of security investment has a large impact on the optimal budget allocation. Also, different measures of target attractiveness yield different optimal budget allocations, emphasizing the importance of developing more realistic terrorist objective functions for use in budget allocation decisions for homeland security.

Wagner Faculty