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USC's Homeland Security Center Receives New $11-Million Contract

Reception at Town & Gown marks renewal and presents agenda for next funding cycle

May 08, 2007 — USC’s Homeland Security Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events — known as CREATE — has received a new three-year, $11-million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue its work in modeling and evaluation of the risks and economic consequences of terrorism.

CREATE was the first university-based Homeland Security Center for Excellence when it opened in March 2004 and is the first to be renewed.  At a reception at May 7, leaders of the center announced its plans for the next funding
(from left) Deans Yannis Yortsos (Viterbi School) and Jack H. Knott (Policy, Planning and Development) join CREATE Director Detlof von Winterfeldt and Vice Provost for Research Advancement Randolph Hall at the May 7 reception marking renewal of DHS funding for the Center.
cycle and showcased The Economic Consequences of Terrorism Events, a new book developed by CREATE researchers.

Completing its third year, CREATE performs cost-benefit analyses to help policymakers decide where and how much to spend for protecting against terrorism.

“Over the past three years, CREATE has made great advances in modeling and evaluating the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism,” said Detlof von Winterfeldt, director of the center and a professor of industrial and systems engineering in the Viterbi School's Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

A CREATE study helped California’s state government to allocate infrastructure protection funds from the Department of Homeland Security. Another study has been guiding department analysts as they weigh the costs and benefits of devices that could protect commercial jets from shoulder-fired missiles.

Other achievements include reports on biological threats, border security and seaport vulnerabilities, along with an active conference schedule and a dossier of more than 150 publications.

Over the next three years, CREATE’s research program will focus on risk and economic analysis in the areas of chemical and biological weapons, explosives, borders and maritime security, and infrastructure, von Winterfeldt said. 

CREATE’s research team includes more than 30 faculty researchers and more than 40 research assistants from USC and other universities across the nation.

The center has about 30 active projects at any given time. Most focus on developing advanced models that gauge how and where terrorist events may occur to estimate the economic consequences of such attacks and to identify where the country is most vulnerable.

Policymakers are using these tools to plan against and prepare for major threats, such as chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological and cybersecurity attacks.
CREATE Director Detlof von Winterfeldt

In The Economic Consequences of Terrorism Events, edited by USC faculty Harry Richardson, Peter Gordon and James Moore, top researchers from around the world discuss issues such as airport security, urban terrorism, Coast Guard operations and the need to balance freedoms with security.

New policies for deterring terrorism also are proposed. Later chapters model the economic impacts of terrorist attacks on the food industry, major U.S. ports, utilities and U.S. theme parks.

The Department of Homeland Security supports seven other Homeland Security Centers of Excellence. For more information on the centers, visit

For more information on CREATE, visit http://www.usc.edu/create