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In the wake of 9/11, the central challenge to protecting the marine transportation system (MTS) is that the complexity of the threat environment is outpacing maritime defense and response capabilities. Sophisticated and versatile threats challenge the conventional counterterrorism framework, generating a new set of security challenges. Unlike the threat environment immediately following 9/11, emerging risks to the MTS are driven by small-scale, high-probability threats. Interconnected network systems, globalization, and big data create the potential for cascading effects. Because the maritime sector is a “system of systems,” an attack in one system has a second-order effect on other, connected systems. Thus, a small-scale attack can turn into a major one with little warning.


Acknowledgement and Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Grant Award Number 20STTPC00001-02-01. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or George Washington University.