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Identifying Critical Infrastructure: The Median and Covering Facility Interdiction Problems

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Facilities and their services can be lost due to natural disasters as well as to intentional strikes, either by terrorism or an army. An intentional strike against a system is called interdiction. The geographical distribution of facilities in a supply or service system may be particularly vulnerable to interdiction, and the resulting impacts of the loss of one or more facilities may be substantial. Critical infrastructure can be defined as those elements of infrastructure that, if lost, could pose a significant threat to needed supplies (e.g., food, energy, medicines), services (e.g., police, fire, and EMS), and communication or a significant loss of service coverage or efficiency. In this article we introduce two new spatial optimization models called the r-interdiction median problem and the r-interdiction covering problem. Both models identify for a given service/supply system, that set of facilities that, if lost, would affect service delivery the most, depending upon the type of service protocol. These models can then be used to identify the most critical facility assets in a service/supply system. Results of both models applied to spatial data are also presented. Several solutions derived from these two interdiction models are presented in greater detail and demonstrate the degree to which the loss of one or more facilities disrupts system efficiencies or coverage. Recommendations for further research are also made.
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Keywords: critical infrastructure; facility location; interdiction; maximal covering; p-median problem

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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