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UA Home > National Center for Border Security and Immigration > Research > Research Area 4 - Risk
National Center for Border Security and Immigration

Research Area 4 - Risk: Mitigation, Assessment and Alignment

Quantify, assess, and mitigate border security risks

Objectives

  • Quantify threats, risks, and security levels
  • Simulate and model of countermeasures
  • Inventory current technologies used in border security and risk management
  • Prioritize needed technologies and systems
  • Identify, test and evaluate easily-deployed, commercially-available technologies
  • Identify technology gaps that require further development

Key Investigators

Larry Head
Larry Head

University of Arizona

Ferenc Szidarovszky
Ferenc Szidarovszky

University of Arizona

Jian Liu
Jian Liu

University of Arizona

Rick Van Schoik
Rick Van Schoik

Arizona State University

Murray Jennex
Murray Jennex

San Diego State University
Eric Frost
Eric Frost

San Diego State University
Robert Judge
Robert Judge

San Diego State University
Henry Willis
Henry Willis

RAND Corporation

Joel Predd
Joel Predd

RAND Corporation

Project Details

Project 4.1 Border Security Risk Assessment and Mitigation Decision Framework

Balancing the level of acceptable risk with physical security technologies, cost, and appropriate countermeasures is one of the most challenging responsibilities DHS faces. How much security is enough? How should high-tech security systems be integrated into low-tech response? There are no ideal approaches for assessing and addressing security issues on the border or looking at responses from a quantified cost-benefit perspective. Evaluating cost effective security technologies is important because security competes with operations, maintenance, and other limited financial, staff, and material resources. Security costs should be in proportion to the value or criticality of the protected asset and the acceptable level of acceptable risk. Typically, a border agent relies on a "gut feeling" to decide where to allocate scarce security resources and to determine the amount of security needed. This is exacerbated by uncertainty about available security resources. This project will develop a decision framework to consider risk and risk mitigation that includes:

  • Characterization of border risks
  • Value or cost assessment of the risks
  • Policies
  • Mitigation systems including technology, policies, and procedures

Project 4.3 Border Security Readiness Assessment and Maturity Model

Maturity models are a structured collection of elements that describe certain aspects of maturity in an organization. A maturity model may provide:

  • Organizational baselines
  • Common criteria, language, and shared vision / direction
  • A framework for prioritizing actions
  • Definitions for organizational improvement
A maturity model can be used as a benchmark for comparison and as an aid to understanding. Maturity models are often used for comparative assessment of different organizations where there is something in common that can be used as a basis for comparison. The objective of this task is to develop a Border Security Readiness and Maturity Model that can be used to assess border security operations across all operating sectors. Maturity models can be used to determine the level of operations based on the use of tools, technology, and process to help organizations plan for growth and increase maturity. Readiness models are useful in assessing technology before it is deployed in a system that is dependent on its reliable operation. Both of these models are necessary to ensure effective and efficient border security operations.

Project 4.4 Prototype Border Security Risk Monitor

This project will develop an on-line Border Security Risk Monitor system that will provide DHS management with a tool to determine the status of border operations based on updated risk assessments, current operational, and maturity and readiness of operational systems. Essentially, the Border Security Risk Monitor will integrate the findings from the other projects into an online tool that will support operational management of Border Security Systems to mitigate risk.

Project 4.5 Adaptive, Risk-Informed Resource Allocation

At the "tactical" level, achieving border security will require personnel to integrate a variety of intelligence (e.g., satellite and other sensor systems) and security (e.g., border patrols) assets first to monitor, and then to interdict, emerging threats to border security. Therefore, the objectives of this project are:

  • Evaluate how the adaptive allocation of intelligence and security assets may make available surveillance tools and border patrols more effective at reducing risk
  • Develop advanced machine learning-based technologies to facilitate such an allocation

Facilities

For details about the facilities used for this research area, view the Risk Facilities

For more details, please view the Work Plan.

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