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[ISN] Campuses in running for security program



Forwarded from: Richard Caasi <caasi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/09/26/3f73cbc785c34

By DAKARAI I. AARONS 
DN Staff Writer
September 26, 2003 

Researchers on three University of Nebraska campuses are working to
complete a proposal that could make NU the first Department of
Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

Mel Bernstein, department of homeland security director of university
programs, announced last week that NU was one of 12 universities
selected from 72 that submitted initial proposals for a DHS Center of
Excellence for Risk Analysis and Modeling Related to the Economic
Consequences of Terrorism.

The full proposal will detail how researchers at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the
University of Nebraska Medical Center would create programs and plans
that would evaluate the risks bioterrorism attacks could pose to
Nebraska's infrastructure and transportation systems, said Steven
Hinrichs, director of the University of Nebraska Center for
Biosecurity.

"We're very pleased that DHS has selected the University of Nebraska
from 72 universities to compete," he said. "This is a great
opportunity to show the cooperation between our campuses."

The proposal is due Oct. 6.

After the full proposals are submitted, two panels will review them
and select three univerisites as finalists, Hinrichs said.

Those universities will receive on-site visits from DHS, and the first
Center of Excellence should be announced by the end of November.

If NU gets the center, it will be housed at UNO's Peter Kiewit
Institute.

Gerald Wagner, UNO distinguished research fellow, is the principal
investigator for the project and director of the institute's
International Academy for Advanced Decision Support.

The DHS center will develop a model to simulate terrorist attacks on
the transportation system and alternative responses to those attacks,
he said. The goal of the model will be to evaluate the economic risks
associated with potential attacks, he said.

The simulation will involve multiple technologies, including
artificial intelligence and geographic information systems, Wagner
said.

The center would create a model program looking at the best way to
prepare Nebraska for a bioterroism attack, and how to protect the
state should an attack occur.

Such a model would then be used on a national scale, he said.

Hinrichs said time would tell if the Department of Homeland Security
would pick NU's proposal, but he said the university's selection for
the second round showed Nebraska had what it took to compete.

"We believe we will be very competitive," he said.



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