Abstract for: Modeling Aviation Security

In an effort to enable the leadership of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to understand the complex set of relationships and unanticipated consequences of technology implementation at security checkpoints, we developed a dynamic model of the systemic structure underlying their ongoing complex socio-technical exchanges. The resulting model—the Checkpoint Strategy Simulator or CSS—is used at TSA headquarters as a strategy and policy analysis simulation environment that promotes learning about how security officers, procedures, and technology interact, which in turn, leads to different levels of aviation security. Operational personnel can use the CSS to increase their understanding of problems at the system level and to develop solutions based on structural and dynamic insights. In addition, the CSS can help these personnel infer how a given aviation security system may perform under a variety of conditions so they can design interventions to improve system performance. In the paper, we explain the process and assumptions we used to develop the model, its components, and the way in which TSA uses the model.