Sandia LabNews

Labs makes two new security tools available to dam and power transmission system owners

Operators of US dams, hydroelectric facilities, and power transmission systems now can use two new step-by-step security risk assessment processes developed at Sandia to make their sites less attractive targets to terrorists.

RAM-DSM for "Risk Assessment Methodology for Dams" is now available to owners of the nation’s 75,000 dams. The methodology provides a formal, scientifically validated process for evaluating and improving the security of any dam.

Sandia developed RAM-D in cooperation with the Interagency Forum on Infrastructure Protection (IFIP), a team of dam owners, transmission system operators, and antiterrorism experts. IFIP accepted the methodology late last year following a two-year development and validation process that included trial security assessments of four actual dams (Lab News, Aug. 11, 2000).

The RAM-TSM "Risk Assessment Methodology for Transmission" is currently being finalized and is expected to be released in January to electricity transmission system owners. To develop RAM-T Sandia and IFIP also conducted a trial assessment on a major regional transmission system.

Both methodologies take owners, operators, and security managers of dams and transmission systems through a magnifying-glass examination of each facility’s unique risk situation — its potential adversaries, vulnerabilities, consequences of attack, and existing security measures — then provides cost-benefit analyses of possible security upgrades.

"This is much more than a checklist," says Rudy Matalucci (5862), Sandia RAM-D and RAM-T project leader. "It begins with the events you don’t want to happen, identifies who might want to do it and what their resources are, and quantifies how much risk reduction you get with each given upgrade. It is a way to help facility owners make decisions about how to balance the need for security with other considerations."

Rudy has spent the last few weeks conducting RAM-D training workshops for US Army Corps of Engineers dam operations personnel.

Each methodology is contained on a compact disk and in two inch-thick manuals.

IFIP includes the FBI, US Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, US Bureau of Reclamation, Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Southwestern Power Administration, Western Area Power Administration, and others.