Protecting air transportation: a survey of operations research applications to aviation security

  • Adrian J. Lee
  • Alexander G. Nikolaev
  • Sheldon H. Jacobson


Catastrophic events often illustrate a nation’s preparedness in anticipating and preventing the extreme consequences of an intentional malicious attack. When terrorists hijacked four commercial aircraft for use as guided missiles against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the world’s population became aware of the human potential to inflict destruction and harm, and the vulnerability of transportation systems against preventing the occurrence of similar disasters. Through research, simulation, and system analysis, procedures may be formulated that limit or eradicate the possibility of future occurrences. Operations research encompasses the optimal allocation of resources subject to constraints, as well as providing techniques that evaluate the performance of security policies. This article provides a survey of operations research activities directed toward analyzing and enhancing the aviation security system, with the intent to be informative and motivate the continual improvement of our nation’s transportation security.


Operations research Aviation security System analysis Modeling Optimization Simulation 



This research has been supported by the by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under Grant No. FA9550-07-1-0232. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrian J. Lee
    • 1
  • Alexander G. Nikolaev
    • 2
  • Sheldon H. Jacobson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Science and EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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