CASE STUDY:
CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION

Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-Making Exercises

Recognizing the need for nimble and efficient exercises that stress the massive complexity and interdependencies of our critical infrastructures, Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises (DECIDE) is a software suite designed to significantly advance the state-of-the-art critical infrastructure protection exercises.

DECIDE exercises enable participants to “war-game” stressful scenarios in a closed-loop manner where the consequences of each participant’s actions feed back into the exercise. These exercises are designed to help participants understand the systemic ramifications of their actions and those of their industry peers — specifically scenarios which may induce or exacerbate cascading failures, resource contention, systemic instability, and other unintended consequences. Furthermore, DECIDE exercises allow critical infrastructure operators to identify scenarios where industry-wide coordinated response tactics are beneficial, and enable these scenarios to be exercised efficiently.

DECIDE significantly reduces barriers to exercise participation by encouraging the re-use of time and monetary investments in the exercise setup and planning process. Furthermore, DECIDE exercises insulate and protect each participant’s proprietary information, allowing competitive institutions to exercise with confidence. Efficient, cost effective, high value, and low-risk, DECIDE exercises encourage participation from a full range of participants.

DECIDE scales from single-player exercises running on a single desktop to national-scale multi-participant exercises leveraging a distributed client-server architecture.

Originally conceived as an outcropping of the widely distributed exercise “LiveWire,” DECIDE development was funded by the Department of Homeland Security Directorate of Science and Technology. Delta Risk consultants acted as contractor support to The Norwich University Advanced Research Institute (NUARI) for user requirements and SME collaboration.