Sunday, April 5, 2009

Risk Based Methodology For Scenario Tracking, Intelligence Gathering, and Analysis For Countering Terrorism

Horowitz, Barry M. and Haimes, Yacov Y.. Systems Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2003, p. 152-169, 17 p.

The authors of the paper apply a variety of methods to the problem of countering terrorism. One of the methods they apply is the use of Multiple-Objective Decision Trees (MODT). The use of MODT allows the intelligence community to make informed decisions under conditions of uncertainty. The authors propose using the method as the final step in a process that utilizes other methodologies, such as Bayesian analysis. "Finally, a decision-making mechanism is needed that can utilize the added knowledge derived from newly-discovered intelligence and make use of Bayesian analysis. In particular, the noncommensurate objectives—effort (cost and time) and risk—must be addressed in the multiobjective tradeoff analysis. Follow-up actions could vary from calling for special new information, to calling in experts to further evaluate the data, to initiating interception of the anticipated terrorist activity."

The authors state that the problem with traditional decision trees as applied to intelligence analysis is that the problem of the intelligence analyst is often too broad to be effectively represented by a decision tree. "In particular, an optimum derived from a single-
objective mathematical model, including that derived from a decision tree, often may be far from
representing reality, and thereby may mislead analysts as well as decision-makers." Instead, the authors propose MODTs as a effective methodology to assess decision making when their are multiple objectives, such as countering terrorism (thwart a plot, interdict the terrorists, dismantle their finances, kill the terrorists, etc.). Through the use of the MODT, decision makers and analysts begin with all objectives formulated, and then make trade-offs based on which set of decisions is most desirable for the given situation.

Comment: This paper further demonstrates the mathematical equations of MODT as opposed to traditional single objective decision trees. I did not include the equations in this summary, please see the article for the mathematics behind the methodology, as well as introductions to other methodologies that the authors propose to better your counterterrorism analysis.

1 comment:

  1. I am a bit unclear here. Do the authors recommend DTs as a way of figuring out what to do about a situation (ie for decisionmaking) or as an analytic tool to figure out what the other guys is likely to do (intel analysis)?