GURU vs. GURU ON ASSESSING RISK OF TERRORISMArt Hutchinson
of Mapping Strategy
has a bone to pick with Bruce Schneier's
assessment of cost to benefit ratios in counterrorism security practices
:"Terrorism is fundamentally not a forecastable thing. That's especially true during a period of innovation and expansion in that sad, sick "industry". The fact that the peak death number changed so suddenly makes a conservative rational calculation based on past history just as tenuous as any radical emotional guess based on fear. Given that the trend is clearly up however, and that the last jump was by 10X, it is only prudent that we err to the side of assuming high and being wrong than assuming low and waving bye-bye to New York or Los Angeles.
...The larger point? What's tough about predicting terrorism is also tough about predicting discontinuous change in business. Applying the same forecasting methodology to discontinuous possible 'left-field' problems as to well-understood, clearly bounded problems with deep actuarial data-sets is like trying to eat soup with a knife. A tool that's extremely precise and powerful for some jobs is utterly misguided for that one."
[emphasis in the original]
Much of what Art is discussing relates to "creative uncertainty
", a factor that I believe will become relevant rather than less as terror risk downshifts from highly centralized hierarchical networks to scale free networks to superempowered individuals seeking to pull off one -man 9/11's. The incentive for terror groups is that the loss of control and the magnitude of effect acheivable in operational parameters caused by downshifting is partially compensated by the much greater difficulty security agencies have in detecting and preventing attacks coming from the decentralized end of the spectrum.LINKS:Younghusband
" at Coming AnarchyJohn Robb
- "Louis Beam