Security Agencies Involved
A Full Scale Exercise (FSE) is a specific type of real world operation designed to assess the capability of large emergency management systems in a highly stressful environment. The idea is to simulate an operation in a way that is as close as possible to a real situation. For this reason, a key objective of an FSE is the actual deployment of resources.
In the context of public transit security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) designed an FSE to ascertain the capabilities of the different security agencies responsible for patrolling the Los Angeles Metro System (the LA Metro) during a "high threat level" period, i.e., a period where threats to the security of the LA Metro are reported, and, consequently, where the patrolling activity of the different security agencies is increased.
This exercise took place the 16 th of May 2013. It involved 23 teams of different resources including high visibility teams, high visibility weapon teams, K-9 teams, Amtrak police, crisis response motors and threat interdiction units. These teams were deployed for one day (12 hours) to patrol 10 stations defined as High Risk Named Area of Interest (NAI 1 to 10). Figure 1 shows a map of the red line of the LA Metro system where the exercise took place.
Figure 1: The Map of the Red Line of the LA Metro
The TSA aimed to verify two key objectives: (i) the ability of the different teams to cooperate during a "high threat level" period and (ii) the effectiveness of the patrolling activity to prevent and deter terrorist activity. To achieve this, the exercise was divided into three "sorties" of 3 hours each. Each sortie was characterized by a different resource deployment and was defined as follows:
The behavior of each team during each sortie was monitored by a mobile command center (see Figure 2). During each sortie different evaluators, positioned within each of the 10 NAIs, were observing the behavior of the different teams to verify the degree to which each of the two objectives defined above was satisfied (see Section Evaluation for more details).
The key research challenges for the USC CREATE team were to develop the game theoretic approach, the mobile application and monitor their deployment during the FSE.
The game theoretic approach was inspired by recent work on coordinating joint activities in security games. The key idea was to encapsulate the capability to cooperate and the abilities of the different teams deployed during the FSE within a security game model, which was then solved using a branch and price approach. The mobile application was built upon a similar application used for the fare evasion problem (see the Figure below).
Before the sorties, each team was instructed on how to use the application and read the schedule (See Figures 5 and 6). Each evaluator (Figure 7) was given a questionnaire about the level of threat / security that he was observing in the NAI where he was positioned during each sortie.
Currently, the data collected is still being evaluated. Some initial results, depicted in Figure 8 shows that the majority of the evaluators felt more secure during the sortie using the 25% "game theoretic" deployment rather than the manual one.