Optimal resource allocation for defense of targets based on differing measures of attractiveness

Vicki M. Bier, Naraphorn Haphuriwat, Jaime Menoyo, Rae Zimmerman, Alison M. Culpen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes the results of applying a rigorous computational model to the problem of the optimal defensive resource allocation among potential terrorist targets. In particular, our study explores how the optimal budget allocation depends on the cost effectiveness of security investments, the defender's valuations of the various targets, and the extent of the defender's uncertainty about the attacker's target valuations. We use expected property damage, expected fatalities, and two metrics of critical infrastructure (airports and bridges) as our measures of target attractiveness. Our results show that the cost effectiveness of security investment has a large impact on the optimal budget allocation. Also, different measures of target attractiveness yield different optimal budget allocations, emphasizing the importance of developing more realistic terrorist objective functions for use in budget allocation decisions for homeland security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-770
Number of pages8
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Critical infrastructure
  • Resource allocation
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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