Los Alamos National Laboratory
NISAC  National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center


CIPDSS: Critical Infrastructure Protection Decision Support System


The Critical Infrastructure Protection Decision Support System (CIPDSS) provides information and decision support for the protection of critical infrastructures based on an assessment of risks appropriately accounting for the likelihood of threat, vulnerabilities, and uncertain consequences associated with terrorist activities, natural disasters, and accidents.

Risk-based assessment of alternatives.

Risk-based assessment of alternatives (Click to enlarge)

Model Characteristics

  • High-level, aggregated model of national and metropolitan scales
  • System dynamics-based
  • Represents 17 CIKR and primary interdependencies

CIPDSS is a computer simulation and decision analytic tool that informs users when making difficult choices between alternative mitigation measures and operational tactics, or when allocating limited resources to protect the nation’s critical infrastructures against existing and future threats. CIPDSS integrates event simulation with a risk assessment process, explicitly accounting for uncertainties in threats, vulnerabilities, and the consequences of terrorist acts and natural disasters. CIPDSS models the primary interdependencies that link 17 CIKR together and calculates the impacts that cascade into these interdependent infrastructures and into the national economy.

Uncertainty analysis

Uncertainty analysis (Click to enlarge)

Where Is the Tool Applied?

CIPDSS can be applied to almost any infrastructure disruption. CIPSS has been demonstrated on several case studies: pandemic influenza, accidental chemical release, biological attack, telecommunications disruption, and dam breach.

CIPDSS Application to Infrastructure Disruption Analysis

NISAC’s CIPDSS team has interviewed critical infrastructure protection decision makers and stakeholders to identify requirements for the decision support system, scope out the decision environment, and quantify the prioritization of consequences. The taxonomy of decision metrics includes fatalities, injuries, economic loss, and public confidence.

QCIP Decision Support System

CIP Decision Support System (Click to enlarge)

Confidence in the Model

An independent panel comprised from academia, industry, and government conducted a technical review of CIPDSS. Selected submodels have been reviewed by experts and results of disruption scenario analyses have been presented at workshops for peer review. Some submodels have been compared to high-resolution models.

Case Studies

Likelihood of Incident graph

Likelihood of Incident graph (Click to enlarge)

  • Smallpox attack
  • Accidental chlorine release
  • Loss of telecommunication switches
  • Pandemic influenza
  • Hurricane Katrina evacuees
  • Potable water contamination
  • Dam collapse
  • Novel H1N1 swine influenza
  • Learning Environment Simulator


Healthcare Dashboard

Healthcare Dashboard (Click to enlarge)

  • Agriculture/Food
  • Banking and Finance
  • Chemicals and Hazardous Materials
  • Critical Manufacturing
  • Defense Industrial Base
  • Energy
  • Information and Telecommunications
  • Monuments & Icons
  • Postal & Shipping
  • Public Health
  • Emergency Services
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Infection and Treatment
  • Chemical Release
  • Economy


  • Tierney, S., et al. Technical Review Panel Report: CIPDSS, April 1, 2006
  • Powell, D., DeLand, S., and Samsa, M., Critical Infrastructure Decision Making, Wiley Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security, 2008.
  • Model documentation available on request

Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's NNSA
Inside | © Copyright 2015 Los Alamos National Security, LLC All rights reserved | Disclaimer/Privacy | Web Contact