Risk Analysis

A Comparative Analysis of PRA and Intelligent Adversary Methods for Counterterrorism Risk Management

Journal Article

In counterterrorism risk management decisions, the analyst can choose to represent terrorist decisions as defender uncertainties or as attacker decisions. We perform a comparative analysis of probabilistic risk analysis (PRA) methods including event trees, influence diagrams, Bayesian networks, decision trees, game theory, and combined methods on the same illustrative examples (container screening for radiological materials) to get insights into the significant differences in assumptions and results. A key tenent of PRA and decision analysis is the use of subjective probability to assess the likelihood of possible outcomes. For each technique, we compare the assumptions, probability assessment requirements, risk levels, and potential insights for risk managers. We find that assessing the distribution of potential attacker decisions is a complex judgment task, particularly considering the adaptation of the attacker to defender decisions. Intelligent adversary risk analysis and adversarial risk analysis are extensions of decision analysis and sequential game theory that help to decompose such judgments. These techniques explicitly show the adaptation of the attacker and the resulting shift in risk based on defender decisions.

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