Resilience Governance for Infrastructure Dependencies and Interdependencies

Research Team Leadership

  • PI: Steve Flynn, Northeastern University
  • Co-PI: Eric Holdeman, Pacific Northwest Economic Region
  • Co-PI: Matthias Ruth, Northeastern University
  • Co-PI: Jennie C. Stephens, Northeastern University
  • Co-PI: Ryan Ellis, Northeastern University
  • Co-PI: Robin K. White, Community and Regional Resilience Institute
  • Co-PI: Noah Dormady, The Ohio State University

​The Homeland Security Challenge

​Because lifeline infrastructure assets span multiple sectors and multiple jurisdictions, planning for and managing failures within a system requires a level of logistical collaboration that currently doesn’t exist at the local, state, and regional levels. The lack of effective government frameworks poses a significant threat for addressing the complex interdependencies and the associated risk of cascading failures in the energy, transportation, communications, water, and wastewater sectors. The infrastructure damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, estimated to be in excess of $50 billion, illustrates the impact of cascading failures within and across infrastructure systems.

​CIRI's Proposed Solution​

The Center for Resilience Studies, a CIRI partner, has consulted with DHS on the completion of nearly 40 regional resiliency assessments. The team works with the private sector in a cooperative, non-regulatory examination of critical infrastructure systems to bridge knowledge gaps hindering development of holistic policies, to explore incentives for greater regional resilience, and to provide decision-support tools. The project has also integrated regional resilience governance reporting into graduate course curriculum to support workforce development within the homeland security community.

Research Approach

This project will analyze barriers and incentives for adopting a new resilience governance framework in Seattle, with the goal of improving management of dependencies and interdependencies among lifeline infrastructure systems. This project expands on CIRI-funded work begun in February 2016 that focused on identifying how the transport and energy sectors would likely be impacted should a major hurricane strike Boston.