What is Critical in Critical Infrastructure Protection? An Application of the Science of Networks to Homeland Security



Rudolph Darken, Naval Postgraduate School
Ted Lewis, Naval Postgraduate School

Date and Time

February 28, 2006 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Reuben W. Hills Conference Room

FSI Contact

Laura C. Page

One of the fundamental challenges facing the United States Department of Homeland Security is the determination of what is critical in critical infrastructure systems such as water, Internet, power, energy, and transportation. Current practice is focused on single-point security audits of things like power plants, airport terminals, and refineries. But this approach does not identify the most vital components of any infrastructure which leads to an inadequate strategy and wasted funding. We show that single-point audits lead to the wrong conclusions and do not provide sufficient national security relative to the effort and money being spent. Instead, we propose an approach similar to social network analysis whereby a critical infrastructure is modeled as a network and then analyzed to identify the critical nodes and links. We present models and software to analyze such networks to obtain optimal resource allocation such that network risk is minimized. In the parlance of network science, our approach extends the theory of scale free networks to incorporate damage estimates for nodes and links. By exploiting the structure inherent in a network, we are able to allocate resources in the most optimal manner, which leads to a fundamentally different strategy than currently practiced.

Rudolph Darken is the Director of the Institute for Modeling, and Simulation (MOVES) and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is the Chair of the MOVES Curriculum Committee and is also the Associate Director for Research for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security. His personal research has been primarily focused on human factors and training using virtual environments and computer gaming media with emphasis on navigation and wayfinding in large-scale virtual worlds. He is a Senior Editor of PRESENCE Journal, the MIT Press journal of teleoperators and virtual environments. He received his B.S. in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990 and his M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in Computer Science from The George Washington University in 1993 and 1995, respectively.

Ted Lewis is Professor of Computer Science and Academic Associate of the Homeland Security curriculum at the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as Sr. Vice President of Eastman Kodak Company, President and CEO of DaimlerChrysler Research, North America, Editor-in-Chief (twice) of IEEE Computer magazine and IEEE Software magazine, and has authored more than 100 papers and 30 books over the past 35 years on subjects ranging from software engineering, parallel processing, to hi-tech business. Currently, he teaches the Critical Infrastructure Protection course at NPS and does research in the application of network science to strategy and policy questions for the US Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Lewis' textbook, "Critical Infrastructure Protection in Homeland Security: Defending a Networked Nation" will be published by John Wiley & Sons, in April 2006.