Advances in Disaster Planning and Research Yields New Risk Assessment Tool

Sept. 7, 2006
Quantitative analysis will improve decision-making for critical infrastructure protection

Farms, bus terminals, tourist attractions, power plants, and commercial buildings are considered critical infrastructure to Homeland Security officials. Approximately 85 percent of the critical infrastructure and essential services in Maryland are owned by the private sector. In the event of a disaster, the people who own and operate critical infrastructure are the first line of defense. The need to assess the risk to a region’s critical infrastructure is crucial to protecting the assets and the people who rely on them.

Several of the region’s leaders in Homeland Security are working together to build partnerships with the public and private sectors to understand the importance of exchanging information critical to protecting its assets. The working group includes representatives from The University of Maryland College Park, The Infrastructure Security Partnership, Wachovia Bank, and Constellation Energy.

Led by The University of Maryland’s Professor Bilal Ayyub, the group developed The Critical Asset & Portfolio Risk Analysis (CAPRA) tool. CAPRA is quantitative risk analysis methodology for analyzing, assessing, and reporting risks associated with critical infrastructure assets and for cost-effective risk management.  “CAPRA was developed to assist in the protection of critical infrastructure,” says Professor Ayyub. “By using the tool, facility managers, city administrators, and public officials will be able to identify and take action to protect buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels, and other assets that may be targeted by terrorists or threatened by natural disasters.”

“To have a tool like this available, while we have the time to plan for disaster is a significant step forward in our ability to model, predict, and respond to catastrophic events,” says Dr. Ayyub.

As part of the Mid-Atlantic All Hazards Forum, the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council of Maryland is sponsoring a training workshop to provide a brief overview of the CAPRA methodology on Oct. 12, 2006, at 1:45 p.m. EST. More information is available on the website (

Dr. Ayyub is director of the Center for Technology and Systems Management at The University of Maryland College Park. His research interests include risk assessment as well as aging, life assessment, and durability of structures. The Maryland Governor’s Office of Homeland Security is the direct liaison to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as the overall coordinator of state departments, agencies, counties, and municipalities in matters of Homeland Security and emergency preparedness. The Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council of Maryland includes more than 225 federal, state, and local agencies working in law enforcement, public health, and emergency planning and response, as well as the military, intelligence, and private sectors.

This information was reprinted with permission from the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council of Maryland, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic All Hazards Forum (AHF). AHF is the only state-endorsed emergency management and homeland security conference and exhibition dedicated to ensuring the continued safety, preparedness, and growth of the Mid-Atlantic region. No other regional forum exists to connect, educate, equip, train, and motivate state and local homeland security planners and practitioners to preserve our freedoms and protect our region.

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