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Software Addresses Terrorist Building Threats

June 2, 2005

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Contact: John Blair
301-975-4261

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) economists have released risk assessment software that building owners and managers can use to identify and guard against terrorist threats to their facilities.

The software, developed by NIST's Office of Applied Economics (OAE) as part of NIST's commitment to homeland security, is the finished version of a beta program released last year for limited testing.

The "Cost Effectiveness Tool for Capital Asset Protection" (CET), Version 1.0, employs a three-step process for developing a risk mitigation plan. Its essential components are risk assessment, identification of potential mitigation strategies and economic evaluation. CET first allows users to look at possible damage scenarios. Users then can explore strategies to reduce facility vulnerability. Choices include engineering alternatives (such as sensors to detect airborne contaminants); management practices (such as evacuation drills or increased security) and financial mechanisms (such as tax-write offs for capital improvements). Finally, CET users can evaluate the actual life-cycle costs (planning, installation and maintenance) of the various mitigation strategies. The combination of strategies that reflects the lowest life-cycle cost is designated the cost-effective risk mitigation plan.

The software is available for free download at http://www2.bfrl.nist.gov/software/CET/. Users are invited to send comments about Version 1.0 to Robert Chapman at robert.chapman@nist.gov. Suggestions will be used to improve CET 2.0 expected to be released in 2006.