PrefaceThroughout human history, certain events (e.g., scientific inventions, wars) may change the development of history. However, any event can assist in human knowledge accumulation. People acquire experience or learn lessons from an event; sometimes the event may even prompt knowledge development and new knowledge generation. Entering the twenty-first century, the world has experienced a sequence of major events, unlike any before, that have promoted worldwide research into disaster planning and responses by homeland security. The September 11, 2001, attack in the United States attracted international attention to the problem of countering terrorism and its broader security implications. The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the subsequent emergence of another novel disease (i.e., bird flu epidemic), both without known countermeasures, also focused the world’s attention on health preparations in response to a potential threat of a new influenza pandemic. The tsunami disaster in December 2004 affected several countries in Southeast Asia and further promoted a widespread discussion about establishing threat warning systems to protect the public and save lives. These are just some typical examples. Yet all such severe events catalyze a national push for homeland security research, which presents us with unique opportunities to identify and mitigate not only our own vulnerabilities but also a range of difficult decision problems for which there are no easy answers.
Little information about homeland security research was published prior to 2000, and the learning curve has been very steep for all parties involved in developing programs to counter terrorism. The World Health Organization even describes terrorism as a “public health issue” (WHO, 2001a) and exhorts countries to “strengthen their capacity to respond to the consequences of the use of biological or chemical weapons” (WHO, 2001b).
This book presents recent scientific research work based on human cognitive theory, together with mathematical modeling and computer simulation, designed to address various homeland security issues, ranging from public threat warning advisories to response-side capability building. The themes emerging from this research include the difficulties inherent to quickly realizing sudden and unexpected events and ascertaining their nature and severity, designing effective threat warning advisories, quantifying public reactions to and confidence in warning advisories, assessing psychosocial impacts on social productivity, the vital need to identify the potential involvement of HazMat materials and surveillance reactions, and the critical importance of first decisions in achieving successful disaster prevention and/or mitigation.
The goal of the book is therefore to recognize how to enhance national and social response capabilities in the presence of human-made or natural disasters. It addresses critical issues involved in completing the “Universal Task List” for major events represented by the Homeland Security National Planning Scenarios (FEMA, 2008), as well as achieving specific capabilities that all levels of government should possess to respond effectively to threats or incidents. The book consists of 13 distinctive chapters, each focusing on a specific topic that falls under the theme of protecting people and enhancing response capabilities. Critical shifts—moving from discussing adversary-side behavior phenomena to exploring our response capability enhancement and from using case analysis or statistics to employing dynamic cognitive modeling with computer simulation—represent two important features of this book. Because speed is critical in saving lives, and organizing an effective and efficient response in a timely manner is crucial in response to any unexpected disaster, this book provides scientific backup for generating such responses. Meanwhile, it may serve as a textbook for students to learn problem solving using cognitive modeling and computer simulation in the new field of homeland security research.
CONTENTS AND ORGANIZATION
Two major players emerge in the face of a sudden disaster or threat. One is the protégé (i.e., the public), and the other is the protector (i.e., the response forces). Thus, the topics covered herein are organized into two parts. Part One focuses on the protégé side, examining public reactions and psychosocial effects of disasters; Part Two pertains to the protector, exploring how to increase response capabilities using limited existing resources. We describe each part in detail next.
Section I: Threat Warning and Psychological Warfare
Human history indicates that human survival depends on the ability to mount a successful response to threats. A disaster—whether terrorism like the 9/11 attack in 2001 or a natural event like Hurricane Katrina in 2005—can cause tremendous damage to both physical entities (e.g., buildings, roads, factories) and humans (e.g., sickness, death). To achieve effective protection and preparation in advance, the dissemination of early warnings to the public regarding impending disasters or notification of what is happening and then advising appropriate responses to the hazard can save lives and reduce possible damages. In Making the Nation Safer, the U.S. National Research Council calls for efforts to disseminate information about terrorism-related threats to the public “that is clear, placed in context, repeated, and authoritative” (U.S. National Research Council [NCR], 2002, p. 272). So, Part One is further divided into two units. Unit I explores how humans attend to stimuli and thus clarifies what constitutes an effective warning advisory. Damages from a terrorist attack or a natural disaster usually are limited to the scene of the attack/disaster itself, but such an act also influences an audience far beyond the victims. In turn, Unit II examines and quantifies how a disaster event may impair people’s mindsets.
Unit I: From Threat Warning to Information Perception . This unit contains two chapters. Because awareness is a perceived pattern of physical energy, in Chapter 1, we examine how to capture attention and thereby investigate how humans react to threat warnings. An effective warning alert must first capture people’s attention, as well as be understandable and have a specific and unique meaning, which will enable it to motivate people to take appropriate protective actions.
In Chapter 2, we investigate how threat warnings may affect public confidence. To quantify the dynamics of public perceptions of the information content of threat warnings, we present a theoretical model that details the nature of the warning frequency and its associated public response and confidence. Our analyses suggest that security advisory systems must take into account the rise and fall of public credibility and attention to warnings and then be designed accordingly. In our view, a dynamic and predictive model can offer great help.
Unit II: Psychosocial Aspect and Social Dynamics. Terrorism has often been conceptualized as a form of psychological warfare, and certainly terrorists have waged such campaigns through different means. Direct physical attacks not only cause physical damages to the target population but also transmit messages to people, beyond the immediate victims, that cause them to feel they are vulnerable as individuals, anywhere and anytime. Indirect psychological threats create fear and anxiety. For example, after the September 11 terrorist attack, terrorists often released threatening videos before important U.S. holidays (e.g., Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas) to threaten the public with potential hazard attacks. If a threat involves the possible release of a biological agent, the targeted population experiences worry and fear. The characteristics of such threats, such as the uncertainty about whether or when the threat will become a real attack, the difficulty of determining the scope of the attack, and the possibility of contagion, may heighten the level of fear and anxiety, resulting in additional psychosocial damages. Moreover, responders may be influenced and concerned about their personal health. Such threat-induced psychological effects influence the effectiveness of response efforts. In three chapters, Unit II therefore focuses on ways to model psychological damages and their associated social dynamics.
In Chapter 3, we explore the formation procedure and mechanism for psychosocial effects of disasters, as well as identify key components critical to their formation. When a large-scale disaster occurs suddenly, the affected populations, including both direct victims and those secondarily involved (e.g., first responders, caregivers, care providers, educators), are many in number. Therefore, there is an urgent need for real-time modeling that estimates the potential psychosocial impacts of a disaster during the disaster while also examining and recognizing how they affect response efforts (NRC, 2006). We target this research gap in Chapter 4 by modeling how people react to an unexpected disaster or threat and thus quantifying the potential psychosocial effects a person may experience. Specifically, we analyze the working procedure of brain components that are in charge of human memory and decision making. We then use differential dynamics to model how a person generates a response decision when facing a threat. With this approach, we can measure individual-level psychosocial consequences of a disaster event and project the range and severity of the possible psychosocial consequences during the course of the disaster.
The actions or anxiety moods of others may directly affect a person’s attitude, especially when the situation is ambiguous and difficult to assess. For example, the observed actions undertaken by others may suggest the situation is more severe. Because fear and beliefs can be shared by people, when observable anxiety with somatic symptoms is initiated, it tends to be imitated by the wider population and might become a social trend. In Chapter 5, we quantify disaster-induced possible collective anxiety. Analytic solutions project the range and severity of the possible psychosocial consequences of a disaster and suggest the extent to which these consequences influence effective behavioral responses. We also analyze possible targeting interventions and resource allocations and suggest methods for measuring the efficiency of such policy interventions.
In applying our proposed models to examine the potential psychosocial influence of an infectious disease like SARS, we demonstrate that the model’s predictions are highly consistent with observed empirical data. Therefore, we consider this work a first step in developing mathematical models to understand the psychosocial effects of a disaster and how such impacts may affect social productivity. Planning for behavioral health responses in advance is urgent and necessary. In our view, dynamic systems theory and mathematical modeling can lead to important advancements in planning for such responses.
Section II: Improving Response Capability to Counter the Threat
In Part Two, we turn our attention to capability building in response to any sudden emergency. A response usually involves at least two different levels of responders: incident commanders and frontline responders. Unit III in Part Two therefore explores how incident commanders and frontline responders can quickly realize the occurrence of a sudden unexpected attack and thereby start a response immediately. For incident commanders, we discuss how to generate effective initial decisions, even with limited information and under time pressures. For frontline responders, specifically firefighters and health care workers, we consider how to generate incident-specific response operations to respond to a chemical or biological attack, including infectious disease. Unit IV addresses issues involved in enhancing the resilience of the critical infrastructure, including those associated with border patrol, cyber security, and financial stability.
Unit III: Forming Situation Awareness for First Decisions and Lifesaving. Disasters, whether natural or human-made, can strike at any time. However, forecasting such events is very hard. If September 11 had been foreseeable, it would have been prevented. Therefore, disaster often hits us unawares, and the two central components of response are situation awareness and hazard identification. If an unexpected incident occurs suddenly, it does not automatically indicate that responders will be immediately aware of its occurrence. In some cases, awareness may be quick, such as in the case of an explosion, but in other situations, awareness may take longer. For example, if an incident involves the release of a biological agent or radiological materials, it might not be recognized for several days, until the people exposed develop symptoms and seek treatment in hospitals. If there are only a small number of cases, they may not even attract attention, and if the symptoms are common and look like a natural disease, it again may not prompt an investigation. Therefore, a time delay may exist between the time of the attack and the time the responders realize it.
The ability to detect the occurrence of an attack quickly is a critical factor for generating an effective response to any unexpected emergency situation. Existing research focuses on different response preparations, assuming that both the occurrence of an incident and the type of the incident are known. In reality, however, unless the incident generates obvious signs, such as an explosion accompanied by audible sounds and a visible blast, or eyewitnesses on the scene directly experience the event, awareness comes only some time later when signs or symptoms suggest what might have happened.
In Chapter 6, we explore the possibility of realizing that an event has occurred and ascertaining the nature and severity of the event. We consider emergencies caused by five types of incidents: explosives, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (denoted ECBRN). By examining the characteristics of these five types of incidents, we identify possible markers that might improve awareness.
Because a reaction to any unexpected incident initiates only after awareness of its occurrence, in most cases, there is no time to think of a detailed strategic plan or analyze the state of the situation and the magnitude of the hazards involved, which already exist, before taking action. This set of urgent circumstances and time pressures indicates that generating an effective response is not an easy task, for either the incident commanders or the frontline responders. Chapter 7 addresses capability issues related to incident commanders, whereas Chapters 8 and 9 examine those related to frontline responders.
Because decisions made in the very first minutes and hours are critical to successful damage control, the prevention of casualties and structural losses, and, ultimately, the overall resolution of the disaster (Hendmerson, 2001; Pesik et al., 1999), in Chapter 7, we discuss factors that affect decision making during the early stage of an incident and explore how existing decision theories, such as classical rational expectation (or maximization) and behavioral decision making, are of limited use in a disaster. Today’s threats may not match yesterday’s preparations, so we identify heuristics to help incident commanders generate initial decisions. In addition, we present an incident command support system that incorporates onsite response and hospital command structures into a unified system, so that onsite responders (e.g., fire chief), EMS staff, and health care professionals can work together and communicate.
The incident command support system addresses several issues: What are the response directions? What does an incident commander need to do now to control the situation? What are the most import tasks? What are the capabilities required to perform these key tasks? Which task should be performed first? How much capability is available? How should these available resources and capabilities be allocated to make the most difference in controlling the situation?
When a disaster occurs, most response activities can be classified roughly into two branches, depending on location. One branch refers to activities implemented at the site of the incident, which we label onsite response, including pre-hospital rescue. The other branch refers to hospital responses. In this book, we consider two classes of first responders: firefighters and hospital staff.
When a disaster involves nuclear or radiological material, radiation contamination is easy to detect with relatively inexpensive equipment that can confirm a radioactive release. However, quickly identifying the release of toxic chemicals or recognizing an infectious disease outbreak is very difficult. Therefore, in Chapter 8, we introduce a computer-supported chemical substance discovery system, which we imagine as a portable, digitized fire chief, that can assist firefighters in identifying agents on the basis of only limited or observed symptoms and thereby generate an incident-specific response operation in a short time. Recognizing the type of agent involved has clear implications for both rescue actions and pre-hospital treatment. For example, it helps responders implement an appropriately specific plan that includes decontamination efforts. Without detailed laboratory and animal testing, response commanders would lose a basic method for receiving the information they need to make correct judgments and wise decisions. However, most laboratory testing requires special equipment, and the sample must be taken within two hours after the exposure—conditions that are not easy to meet, because the special equipment rarely is available in either fire departments or doctors’ offices. If a release is covert, collecting a sample within two hours also may not be possible. Moreover, many chemical agents do not generate biological symptoms in the human body, so no simple blood test or other diagnostics can return results within the time required for effective intervention. Our effort in Chapter 8 attempts to generate a simple method for quick identification and response.
In Chapter 9, we model routine care functions in a hospital as a patient care system and show how a similar system could be used for real-time data analysis to provide an early alert for a potential disease outbreak, regardless of whether it is natural or human-made. In addition, if an incident occurs, the exposed or injured people rapidly seek care, which means they may not wait to find facilities designed by existing response plans. Thus, every health care facility must be able to organize an effective response quickly; speed is critical in life saving. A means to employ existing health care capacities quickly to generate a “dual-use” response infrastructure therefore becomes an urgent issue, because many of the capabilities required to respond to a large-scale chemical or biological attack also are required to respond to naturally occurring disease outbreaks. We introduce a hospital emergency support system to help hospital managers organize an effective response and discuss its application to the avian influenza virus and related health consequences to identify the effectiveness of several public health interventions that may be able to halt a pandemic in its earliest stages.
Finally, in Chapter 10, we consider ways to channel evacuees quickly during an emergency situation. Although incident commanders and others assume that people will act rationally—hear a warning, realize the danger based on the warning, and leave when told to do so—more often, people do not do as emergency commanders expect. In an emergency, urgency creates a sense of uncertainty and forces people to act to escape from the danger. Congestion occurs. We therefore propose a mathematical model with algorithms to help incident commanders organize at-risk populations and evacuate them from potentially dangerous environments to safer areas during an emergency. Specifically, we present a computer support system, the Emergency Evacuation Command System, with a simulation. Compared with two benchmark cases (i.e., random self-evacuation and herding behavior), the proposed method can rescue people at risk and move them to safe area in a much shorter time and without congestion.
Unit IV: Enhancing the Resilience of Critical Infrastructure: Border Patrol, Cyber Security and Financial Stabilit y. Since an incident area could be in cyber domain, financial zone, or other areas where critical assets are critical for national security, economic stability, and public safety. In this fourth unit, we focus on three major areas: border patrol, cyber security, and financial sustainability. Protecting critical infrastructure components, such as securing energy networks, gas pipelines, reservoirs, or the coastline, requires an effective and efficient inspection and patrol system. In Chapter 11, using border patrol management as an example, we consider the design of an effective and efficient inspection and patrol system that can help avoid an emergency similar to Northeast Blackout of 2003.
Chapter 12, which we entitle “Weaponizing the Internet and the YouTube War,” discusses how terrorists can exploit the Internet as a propaganda tool and generate cyber fear. The modern Internet penetrates all levels of society, such that information flows continuously and seamlessly across political, ethnic, and religious divides. Although the Internet infrastructure officially consists of software and hardware, these elements form a global cyberspace that remains open to the world and available to anyone, anywhere, assuming they have sufficient capability to exploit those opportunities. Because of the global nature of cyberspace, it provides a new platform on which terrorists can wage battles. In this chapter, we model the Internet structure, identify its inherent vulnerabilities, and suggest response methods. We show that the inherent vulnerability of the Internet infrastructure itself permits malicious activities to flourish and perpetrators to remain anonymous. Managing threat and reducing vulnerability in cyberspace is a particularly complex challenge because of the number and range of users. We analyze the course of war in cyberspace and propose that the Internet should have the ability to implement self-awareness mechanisms to sense/identify harmful contents exhibiting in various computer codes.
Lastly, we turn our attention to the financial zone to explore an issue of how to maintain financial stability, a key component of homeland security. Certain non-terrorist events that reach catastrophic levels can have significant implications for homeland security, such as the modern financial crisis. If the International Monetary Fund is correct, the credit crisis that began in 2007 could turn out to be the most expensive financial crisis in history, measured in dollar terms of $945 billion in losses (Guha, 2008; Strauss, 2008). Under increasing strain, more and more companies are reaching distressed debt levels, averaging 10 defaults per month (Oakley, 2008). In Chapter 13, we propose a new methodology to provide an early warning of financial distress and thus avoid collapse. We assert that simple models using limited information can capture the essential dynamics of an individual firm’s credit risk. Existing conventional models share one fundamental and key assumption: the possible market outcomes follow known probability distributions which do not change over time. That is, if the variables of interest have probabilities, then these probabilities are known to modelers in advance. For example, suppose someone plans to build a model to describe a firm’s operating performance and forecast its earning trend. Using this modeling assumption, he would specify that the present state of the firm’s performance follows a single and known probability distribution. Giving this setting, the possible earning states at a given future date can be obtained as a calculable probability of each such future state’s occurrence, conditional on the present state. Recognizing that no one has a perfect foresight or can fully prespecify changes overtime, we argue that each company has its own characteristics, so its corresponding probability distribution of the variables of interest cannot be predetermined. In contrast to those conventional models, our proposed individual-level adaptive model can capture individual firm characteristics and determine the actual distribution(s) exhibited in the firm’s own data. Using only two pieces of information about the firm, we generate strong predictions. An empirical study using real-world data illustrates the greater predictive power of the proposed model compared with current conventional economic models.
FEATURES AND MAJOR STRENGTHS
The novelty of this book lies in our mathematical treatments, which incorporate human cognitive theory and computer simulation into the emerging area of homeland security research. Specifically, the book:
- establishes a theoretical foundation for developing effective emergency response mechanisms
- explores critical response capabilities and details how a set of dynamic models may be used against threats and to mitigate diseases
- incorporates cognitive and security theories with mathematical modeling to enhance response capabilities
- provides scientific backup for security policy planning and command, disaster mitigation and counterterrorism, and training
- contains models, methods, and solution steps that are the foremost creative and innovative
The book also features the following strengths:
- Concrete matters. This book focuses on problem solving, addressing how to perform each specific
task. For example, it:
- presents anti-threat warning and information perception theory
- offers a real-time model of public confidence in warning advisories
- lays the foundation for a comprehensive theory of human and social behavior in emergency situations
- presents a new approach to model collective anxiety using differential dynamics for the first time in social science
- develops strategies and interventions for different levels of response forces - incident commanders and frontline responders - in recognizing and responding to unexpected biological, chemical and radiological threats
- establishes theoretical models and new approaches about
- emergency evacuation
- border patrol and securing coastline
- countering cyber threat
- early warning of finical crisis
Modern threats are not the same as those for which societies have prepared in the past, so increasing our capability to generate effective, event-specific, and real-time response strategies is very important for both incident commanders and frontline responders. This book presents methods and step-by-step guidelines to achieve that goal.
- Cutting-edge theories applied to practice. The topics in the book cross different traditional disciplinary fields, including theories ranging from cognition to social psychology to decision making to disease control to economics to computer science to nonlinear dynamical system theory. The cutting-edge theories we develop are applied throughout the book. For example, using decision theory, we show that both rational expectation and behavioral economic decision theories are inappropriate in a setting that the decision maker has never encountered before, in which information is limited and unclear, and time is urgent.
- Filling the gaps. In each chapter, we identify existing issues or gaps, and propose (new) methods to address them. For example, little research in warning theory quantifies the impact of threat warnings on public confidence. Thus, in Unit I, we describe the process of human “attention” and explain the dynamics of public perceptions of threat information using differential dynamics. A mathematical model captures the effectiveness of warning advisories and corresponding public confidence levels, combined, for the first time, with cognitive science. In Unit II, we acknowledge extensive research that attempts to estimate the economic impacts and long-term psychological effects (i.e., PSDT) of a disaster, but to the best of our knowledge, no studies apply mathematical equations to study psychosocial effects or their impact on the effectiveness of public responses in terms of social productivity (Stein et al., 2004). Few published reports about the psychological impact of disease outbreaks adopt a survey approach or present summarized results at an aggregate level. Because individuals likely have different emotional and behavioral reactions to the same threat, survey results suggest only the level of importance and cannot account for how individual-level psychosocial damage develops, nor understand its underlying dynamic processes. Therefore, the modeling effort proposed herein offers a first step in developing mathematical models of the impacts of a threat on people’s minds during the disaster. Complete modeling at both individual- and population-levels, as well as the shift from a statistical to a dynamic mathematical model to evaluate psychosocial concerns, enable us to understand how people dynamically respond to a disaster event, suggest more effective responses including resource allocations and targeting interventions, and help reduce the occurrence of long-term psychological damages.
Recognizing that no one has perfect knowledge or can predetermine future changes perfectly, we introduce approaches to generate effective decisions. Specifically, using the credit crisis as a test example, our proposed method sheds new light on a firm’s risk evaluation, a task that has relied on conventional, aggregate-level models for decades.
In addition, to help onsite responders identify chemical terrorism, we present a method that functions with only limited information. Furthermore, we examine how to generate an effective and efficient border patrol that can reduce and prevent escalating illegal crossings, even given limited resources.
- Realistically limited information and resources. Because limited resources and human cognition capabilities exist in reality, we present a set of capabilities-based processing models that can help responders generate response capabilities suitable for a wide range of threat and hazards. For example, in preparing to respond to terrorist attacks on a health care facility, the current approach recommends proactively educating health care providers about the clinical management of different type of injuries caused by bombings and biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear incidents. Yet such education is expensive, and even if health care providers initially receive training to care for these ECBRN-related injuries, assuming that these incidents do not become a more frequent and unfortunate reality, the education must be repeated regularly to ensure current knowledge and clinical competency. In addition, many EMS systems and hospitals lack the capacity to care for any patients beyond their usual volume. The costs of increasing these facilities’ capacity in both EMS and hospital systems may be substantial. We instead propose a system to illustrate how existing hospital routine care functions might be integrated to generate rapid responses.
Our hope is that the publication of this book will accelerate the spread of new ideas currently emerging in scientific literature. The book therefore features theoretical contributions and system developments that pertain to a more general topic: how to increase response capabilities to a wide range of unexpected emergencies. The clear explanations make the models and methods accessible, operational and implementable. It is intended to play three roles and serve three distinct audiences:
- A scientific text on modeling homeland security and disaster responses for academic researchers and scholars. This book provides valuable resources in the field of research into modeling human and social dynamical behavior, as well as state-of-the-art approaches to the new area of homeland security. It promotes the application of formal models in cognitive science and social science.
- A college textbook introducing the applications of mathematics and cognitive theory in the new field of homeland security and related fields for undergraduate seniors and graduate students.
- A handbook for policymakers, executives, and administrators at different levels of local, state, and federal government agencies all over the world who are involved in emergency response and management.