Enhance Resilience to Disasters

Selected Projects:

Domestic Fixed-Wing Airlift Requirements

Through its work for the National Guard Bureau and in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others, IDA recently investigated emergency fixed-wing requirements for response to natural and man-made disasters. A recent DoD study previously concluded that the size of the C-130 fleet could be reduced and still meet domestic and international commitments even under surge conditions. This conclusion—reached in the 2013 Mobility Capabilities Assessment (MCA) whose main focus was on assessing mobility capabilities for global conflict scenarios—was based on its interpretation of planning scenarios from the current Defense Planning Guidance. This conclusion was repeated in the June 2014 Congressional Research Service (CRS) paper “C-130 Hercules: Background, Sustainment, Modernization, Issues for Congress.” The CRS paper nonetheless raised the question of the right size, composition, and mix (active/guard/reserve) of the C-130 fleet. The National Guard Bureau was concerned that the nation’s domestic airlift requirements may not be fully captured in existing studies, and that the numbers of required C-130s may be underestimated, even when using defense planning guidance scenarios. To help address this question, IDA determined the emergency fixed-wing airlift requirements for a DoD response to natural and man-made disasters within the 50 states of the United States, its territories, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, IDA built on these findings to determine the appropriate numbers and types of aircraft that could be employed to meet these requirements (some airlift requirements might be met with other military or civilian airlifters).

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Building Protection Table Top Exercises

As part of IDA’s support and integration of DHS and DOD efforts, IDA investigated federal, state, and local information sharing and decision-making during biological events. There are several different signals that could indicate a possible biological terrorist event. Indication of a possible event could trigger a response--a series of actions and communications. The nature of those actions and communications drive requirements for resources and for processes, methods, venues, and technologies to support interactions between local (including city and county) and state decision makers, as well as first responders, first receivers, and others. These interactions have the potential to grow even more complex when military installations and personnel, in addition to local facilities and communities, are at risk. As a result, it is important to understand how response works currently in different situations such as external exposures vs. internal exposures in various types of buildings or structures. Through workshops and table top exercises designed to capture and map response, IDA investigated different communications, decisions, and actions that might be taken in response to a biological event in different civilian and military settings.

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Environmental Surveillance Analysis of Alternatives

The goal of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) BioWatch Program is to provide “a nationwide biosurveillance capability to monitor for select aerosolized biothreat agents…and is a partnership between federal, state, and local governments for the purpose of ensuring the protection of the nation’s population....” Per Homeland Security Presidential Directive 10, the BioWatch Program was created in 2003 “to provide early warning, detection, or recognition of biological attack.” Two generations of collectors have been deployed reaching 30 major metropolitan areas. Appropriations for an improved biodetection capability were established in 2008. Since that time, studies conducted by the Federal Government and for DHS have recommended performing an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) based on cost, risk, and capability to compare alternative materiel and non-materiel biological surveillance capabilities to meet the BioWatch Program goals. The Institute for Defense Analyses undertook this task: identifying four potential candidate alternatives, modeling attack scenarios and response time of alternatives, and conducting cost and financial analyses. The findings were also presented by the IDA Research Project Leader in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications as documented in an IDA paper.

TESTIMONY: Written Testimony of Dr. Deena Disraelly(Open external link) before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications titled “BioWatch Analysis of Alternatives” (June 2014).

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Presentations, Articles, Publications:

PRESENTATION: Investigating Interventions and Other Activities during the West African Ebola Outbreak Posters Presentation at the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) 83rd Symposium, June 22-25, 2015.

BOOK REVIEW: IDA’s Dr. Deena Disraelly provides review of Managing Spontaneous Community Volunteers in Disaster by Lisa Orloff, published in “Security Management,” April 2013.