Designing for effective deterrence: a Markovian approach to modeling and analyzing terrorist behavior within the aviation security environment



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Texas Tech University


The threat of terrorism on U.S. soil has made security a top priority for the current administration as evidenced by the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The objective of this research is to improve deterrence of aviation security screening systems by developing a mathematical tool that can be used to optimally allocate security resources, design effective deterrence procedures, and identify where emphasis should be placed to achieve the most effective deterrence. A continuous time Markov chain is used to model terrorist behavior within the aviation security environment. The nine state model addresses three levels of behavior, three levels of expertise, and three levels of inactivity. Optimization is used to identify optimal parameter values that minimize terrorist activity. The focus application is aviation security. However, the intent is to provide a tool that can be used in any area of security or law enforcement.