As the NISAC models developed and matured, DHS used the analysis team to evaluate potential threats to the nation’s infrastructures. These threats can and do present NISAC with questions that go beyond the boundaries of any individual modeling capability or expert set. Also, these analysis requests frequently require rapid turn-arounds, with delivery deadlines ranging from just a few hours to a number of days. NISAC provides this broad set of consequence analyses on an as-needed basis.
The Fast Analysis and Simulation Team (FAST) was formulated to serve as a central resource point for DHS in providing relevant and practical information in response to issues of national importance under limited time constraints.
NISAC developed models and tools, as well as the significant subject-matter expertise contained within the NISAC team, are used to provide insight and analysis pertaining to the questions as posed. FAST also integrates expertise from throughout NISAC, including the core partners, their collaborators, and system experts.
The team’s information and analyses cover wide-ranging subjects. Some common themes include
- Who will be affected (population, economic sectors), and how (duration, scale)?
- What are the economic impacts
- by economic or industrial sector, by state or region?
- for the insured and uninsured?
- with respect to abandoned and deferred purchases?
- What are the unexpected consequences, primarily with respect to infrastructure interdependencies?
Analyses include simulations of each infrastructure sector. Simulation tools include economic modeling and dynamic simulations of infrastructures and their interdependencies.
In some cases, NISAC can complete an analysis without running computer-generated simulations, relying instead on (1) the subject-matter and technical expertise resident in the program staff and (2) data assessment using spatial or other appropriate techniques. Toolsets developed by NISAC support the archiving of knowledge, previous analyses, and simulations. Frequently, ‘nuggets of information,’ or interesting and salient facts discerned from data mining, will provide insight into an issue, determining the focus of the analysis.