Quantitative Methodology for Assessing State-Level Nuclear Security Measures
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The international community faces a growing threat from nuclear terrorism. The complexity of the threats of nuclear terrorism, the variety of nuclear security measures that States can devote resources towards to address the threats, and the limited resources States have to invest in these nuclear security measures make it imperative that resources are applied in the most effective way possible. In this dissertation, we develop a quantitative, risk-based methodology that States can employ to gain a better understanding of the nuclear threat they face, assist them in determining what nuclear security measures they should invest in, and facilitate communication to stake-holders to request and justify investment in these measures. The risk-based methodology has been developed employing a combination of pathways analysis, game-theory, multiple-attribute utility analysis, decision theory and risk analysis. The methodology was designed to account for the wide variety of nuclear security measures that States can invest in, the range of possible consequences from different nuclear threats, and the severity of these consequences to the State. In addition, the methodology models the adversary's strategic decision making while accounting for the capabilities, motivations, and disincentives that may influence which nuclear threat a terrorist group will attempt. The methodology is introduced into a Visual Basic for Applications code, which we demonstrate through verification and qualitative validation tests. We then develop three State nuclear infrastructures with varying levels of complexity, meant to provide a realistic representation of real-world States. We then utilize the code to evaluate the risk of nuclear terrorism against terrorist threats that have different motivations for nuclear terrorism to demonstrate how different motivations for nuclear terrorism may affect both State-level risk and the State's optimal risk-reduction strategy. These risk analyses are then used to both evaluate various nuclear security strategies and determine which nuclear security measures will have the greatest risk-reduction value. Finally, we conduct a sensitivity analysis on capabilities of terrorist groups to understand how changes in these capabilities affect the State-level risk from nuclear terrorism.
Myers, Christopher 1985- (2012). Quantitative Methodology for Assessing State-Level Nuclear Security Measures. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from