A cost-benefit analysis of alternative device configurations for aviation checked baggage security screening
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In the two years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the security of our nation's civil aviation system has assumed renewed urgency, and efforts to strengthen aviation security have received a great deal of congressional attention (GAO-03-1150T). As of early 2003, an estimated 1,100 explosive detection systems (EDS) and 6,000 explosive trace detection machines (ETD) had been deployed to ensure 100% checked baggage screening (GAO-04-440T). These two explosive detection technologies are an integral part of the security strategies currently being used in US airports. However, the prohibitive costs associated with deploying and operating such devices and machines has led the TSA to evaluate the cost, effectiveness, maturity, and efficiency of these devices to ensure that they achieve the maximum pay-off in improved security for funds spent (Jacobson et al. 2003b). In addition to the evaluation of cost effectiveness of current explosive detection devices, research into advanced screening equipment and associated technologies has also become a priority. The main objective of this thesis is to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the explosive detection technologies currently in US airports supplemented with evaluations of the newest technologies which could possibly be used to screen checked baggage in the fixture. The research analyzes both single device systems in addition to several cascading sequences of devices. In particular, the expected annual direct cost of using these devices for 100% screening under various checked baggage screening scenarios is obtained. The tradeoffs between using single device strategies and sequenced combinations of the devices are also studied. Lastly, the expected number of successful threats under the different checked baggage screening scenarios with 100% checked baggage screening is studied. The results indicate that for the current security setup, with current device cost and probability parameters, single device systems are less costly and give optimal successful threat values. The cost model introduced provides an effective tool for the execution of cost-benefit analyses of alternative device configurations for aviation checked baggage security screening. Butler and Poole (2002) and Poole and Passantino (2003) feel that a risk-based system is a superior approach to aviation security. If the US implements this type of security system, this cost model will be a valuable tool in developing the optimal device configuration.