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Global Approaches to Infrastructure Assurance

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Global Approaches to Infrastructure Assurance (GAIA) is a unique and highly effective approach to analyzing critical infrastructures. A foreign infrastructure is critical if its management has the potential to significantly impact the interests of the U.S. GAIA is being developed by Sandia National Laboratories as part of an ongoing effort to improve our understanding of infrastructures throughout the world in order to promote economic and political stability in regions important to the U.S. The GAIA effort is based on the premise that complex infrastructure systems, such as those supplying water, agricultural commodities, and energy, constitute the foundation of economic, social, and political systems. Understanding the global dynamics of these integrated systems, including their environmental impacts, is becoming more important for making intelligent management decisions as we move into the twenty-first Century and the increasingly integrated world economy.

GAIA is being designed to provide assistance to decision makers who deal with complex issues involving the management of critical infrastructures by providing them with timely worldwide access to relevant information, expertise, and technology. GAIA is directed toward the development and deployment of state-of-the-art decision support systems that provide:

  • a context set by key stakeholders,
  • a collaborative environment,
  • enhanced value of information, and
  • improved decision making in the management of critical infrastructures.

A GAIA decision support system consists of the following three components:

  1. The Vital Issues Process - a strategic planning tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories that involves a multistage series of day-long workshops for identifying and prioritizing a stakeholder-defined portfolio of strategic issues, programmatic areas, or responses to specified problem. The Vital Issues process provides a format for identifying the information needed to properly address issues considered vital to managing critical infrastructures. It can also be used to develop portfolios of appropriate policy options and to allocate critical resources.
  2. The Silicon Computer - a suite of computer modeling tools that can be used to provide valuable analytical results relevant to the topic of interest. To review an example of the use of the "silicon computer" in the dynamic simulation of critical infrastructures, go to the Decision Support Systems section of the China Infrastructure Initiative.
  3. The Protein Computer - on-line, well recognized and respected professionals accessible through e-mail and real-time internet chat rooms.

The Vital Issues process provides the context for identifying information needs for a decision support system (DSS). The "protein" and "silicon" computers are important components of the DSS in that they are needed to transform data into information and subsequently information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom.

Initial projects have shown the GAIA approach to be effective in addressing complex infrastructure issues in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, Central Europe, Asia, and South America, as well as the United States. The results of several of these projects are presented in these pages.

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Transboundary Environmental Issues in Central Europe
China Infrastructure Initiative
New Mexico Water Resources Initiative
Nicaragua Water Resources Management Initiative
North American Power Grid Initiative
Puerto Rico Water Resources Management Initiative
Russia's International Surety Center Safety and Security Certification of High Consequences Systems
Senegal Water Resources Management Initiative

GAIA Events:

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Modeling and Simulation Conference
R&D Portfolio Development for the Advanced Research for Fossil Energy
The Science and Technology of Environmental Security in Drylands Workshop

 

For more information contact Dr. Dennis Engi, (505) 845-8284.

Project Manager: Reynold Tamashrio     Webmaster: Brad Naton

Page Designer: Tech Reps, Inc.
Original Page Designer: Mark Engi


Last modified: 4 May 1999

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