Digital Sandbox Learning Center
Digital Sandbox CEO Bryan Ware explores the idea of a new kind of converged security, one that recognizes how merged our physical and cyber worlds have become, and the impact of that convergence on our approach to intelligence.
This article is reprinted with permission from the Fall 2009 issue of IQT Quarterly, a publication of the Central Intelligence Agency’s In-Q-Tel technology-investment arm.
Population is an extremely valuable part of the overall risk picture and represents 40% of DHS’ homeland security grant risk formula. Population is relevant for any given scenario and is a valuable component of local homeland security capabilities including public warnings, evacuations, sheltering, injuries, and fatalities. Identifying a defensible number and demographic profile (e.g. age, gender, poverty) of people within a given area is vital to planning and responding based on the risk to a given area’s population.
The consequences of certain threat types are much more population-centric than asset-centric. For example, an earthquake can cause higher rates of fatality, hospitalization, sheltering, and long-term social welfare than an IED which is immediate and typically on a smaller-scale. Local jurisdictions need to approach population risk differently for each. Furthermore, some threat types affect certain population types much differently than others. For example, hurricanes affect socially vulnerable populations more than other people. Identifying these people prior to landfall is valuable to emergency planning. According to Census data, the most commonly used source for population, no one lives in the World Trade Center or Pentagon. However, on September 11th 2,729 people died in these buildings. As this example illustrates, an in-depth understanding of dynamic population is vital to homeland security and emergency management. This paper outlines Digital Sandbox’s approach to building a unique and defensible estimation of population and key demographic variables.
Since the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, DHS has awarded over 28.7 billion dollars in grant funds to states, locals, territories and tribal entities to enhance prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts. Yet, the homeland security community continues to struggle with measuring the impact these investments have made toward improving preparedness. The 2009 Federal Preparedness Report highlighted that the nation lacks risk-based performance metrics, accurate data, and analytical tools to measure how these investments have improved preparedness. This thesis outlines the challenges of measuring preparedness across the numerous federal funding streams, assesses the prevalence of these factors, and proposes five recommendations for improving the capacity to answer how prepared we are;how prepared we need to be; and how we close the gap between the two. (included by permission of The Naval Post-Graduate School, Pamela Broughton, author)
Defining the proper relations between federal, state, local and tribal governments is one of the keys to effective homeland security—and one of the trickiest balancing acts in the nation. With the benefit of experience and a perspective from the heart of homeland security, a veteran official looks at the challenges DHS has faced and makes some suggestions for the future.
Digital Sandbox employs a “capability build-up” methodology to using risk to identify gaps and inform investment priorities.
Digital Sandbox has conducted a number of scenario-based analyses of the risks facing individual states and urban areas from terrorist attacks. This paper reports on the common features in the distributions of risk to critical infrastructure in the studied areas.
Risk has become the watchword of Homeland Security. The conversation has changed from “is it necessary?” to “what are the best practices for implementing a world class risk management program for my jurisdiction?”