Modeling and Methodology for Incorporating Existing Technologies to Produce Higher Probabilities of Detecting Suicide Bombers

Modeling and Methodology for Incorporating Existing Technologies to Produce Higher Probabilities of Detecting Suicide Bombers

William P. Fox, John Binstock, Mike Minutas
DOI: 10.4018/joris.2013070101
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Among the many weapons currently used by terrorist organizations against public welfare and coalition forces, human-born Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) present a significant threat. Commonly referred to as suicide bombers, these individuals enter crowded public areas in order to detonate their IED, inflicting lethal damage to the surrounding individuals. Constructed of non-standard parts and hidden under layers of clothing, these human-born IEDs go undetected until detonated. Currently, there are no detection systems that can identify suicide bombers at adequate standoff distances. The authors developed models and a methodology that examine current technologies to increase the probability of identifying a suicide bomber at a checkpoint or marketplace with an adequate standoff distance. The proposed methodology employs sensor technology incorporating unique detection threshold values. The authors analyze our proposed methodology utilizing a simulation model that provides both the probability of detecting a bomber and the probability of a false detection. These simulations will allow us to determine the threshold values for each sensor that result in the best probability of detection of a suicide bomber and allows for a small probability of false detections. Using experimentally “good” threshold values, the authors were able to drastically increase the probability of detection with a combination of radar and thermal imagery. In this paper, the main sensor is the hand-held radar.
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Introduction And Literature Review

Over the last twenty-five years, suicide attacks have emerged as one of the most effective methods used on a large scale by terrorist organizations. An individual who is willing to sacrifice his own life by causing a detonation in an attack is a significant force multiplier when employed against a conventional security force (Wells III & Horowitz, 2005). The purpose of a suicide attack is to create fear, mayhem, and chaos within a region. The doctrine of asymmetric warfare views suicide attacks as a result of an imbalance of power in which groups with little power resort to suicide bombing as a convenient tactic to demoralize the targeted civilians or government of their enemies. As of 2005, suicide attacks have been used in only seven of the sixty-nine countries that have had violent uprisings in the last half century, but the effects of suicide attacks are much more lethal than most armed attacks (Berman & Laitin, 2005). Suicide bombings can be defined as violent, politically motivated attacks, carried out in a deliberate state of awareness by a person who blows himself up together with a chosen target and indiscriminately attacks civilians (Bloom, 2004). Men and women both have been suicide bombers (Zedalis, 2004).

Most terrorist groups using suicide attacks are usually in conflict with an established state. It is the preconceived plan of the terrorists groups that their suicide bombings will frighten and overwhelm the opposing force or organization, while also raising awareness of the dedication and resolve of their cause (Dickson, 2008).

Suicide Bombing Targets

Terrorists not only target civilians, but they also target military personnel, military bases or installations, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The public response to the tactical use of suicide bombing depends on how the tactic is used by the insurgent organizations, against whom, and for what purpose. If suicide terror does not resonate and the domestic environment is antagonistic to it, it will be rejected by the rank and file. Violence will fail it win over the “hearts and minds” of the public, the insurgent’s goal. (Bloom, 2004) It makes sense for suicide attackers to choose targets that will have the largest impact to the conflict‘s opposing side. Since military installations are usually heavily guarded or hardened, many times the easiest targets are civilian installations or soft targets (Wehri, 2007, Dickson, 2008). Thwarting suicide bombers by any method is essential (Dudkevitch, 2003).

Places where large crowds congregate are prime targets of opportunity for suicide bomber attacks. Past suicide bombings have taken place at airports, military bases, public buildings, market centers, subways, schools, banks, and malls (Toet, 2003). Most target areas can be categorized into two main scenarios: a marketplace or crowded public area, and an entry control point or checkpoint (Dickson, 2008). The typical marketplace is an open area that is filled with many people moving in different directions with many entrances and exits for people to transit.

The second scenario is an entry control point or checkpoint. This scenario is commonly used by military and security personnel while screening individuals as they pass through an unsecure area to a secure area. Many times, there are current technologies installed at these checkpoints to reveal concealed weapons. The entry control point or checkpoint may allow the use of sensor technologies that work at short distances and screen individuals one at a time. While in a typical marketplace scenario, a detection system would have to scan large areas and accurately pinpoint the suicide bomber at greater distances (Dickson, 2008).

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