An analysis of terrorism and security in the olympics

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An analysis of terrorism and security in the olympics

The conflict has simmered for decades.

An analysis of terrorism and security in the olympics

Sometimes it flares up in battles with government forces, a terror bombing, or a particularly high-profile kidnapping. Sometimes it fades into the background as cease-fires or negotiations quiet the hostilities.

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Even locals have become numb to the conflict. It turns out that subatomic particles and people are not that different, he explains.

So profound is the connection that quants quantitative analysts, often with backgrounds in physics or engineering have flocked to Wall Street, creating elaborate models based on the way markets have moved in the past.

Spagat had a Colombian Ph. Johnson hoped the numbers could tell them something about how the individual particles—in this case, insurgents rather than electrons—functioned when put together in large groups.

Soon the new team had a database that included more than 20, separate incidents from two and a half decades of FARC attacks. Johnson and Spagat expected that the success of the attacks, measured in the number of people killed, would cluster around a certain figure: There would be a few small attacks and a few large ones as outliers on either end, but most attacks would pile up in the middle.

Visually, that distribution forms a bell curve, a shape that represents everything from height some very short people, some very tall, most American men about 5'10" to rolls of the dice the occasional 2 or 12, but a lot of 6s, 7s, and 8s.

Bell curves are called normal distribution curves because this is how we expect the world to work much of the time. But the Colombia graph looked completely different. When the researchers plotted the number of attacks along the y vertical axis and people killed along the x horizontal axis, the result was a line that plunged down and then levelled off.

At the top were lots of tiny attacks; at the bottom were a handful of huge ones. That pattern, known as a power law curve, is an extremely common one in math. It describes a progression in which the value of a variable in this case, the number of casualties is always ramped up or down by the same exponent, or power, as in: If the height of Americans were distributed according to a power law curve rather than a bell curve, there would be million people 7 inches tall, 60, people towering at 8'11", and a solitary giant as tall as the Empire State Building.

Although power laws clearly do not apply to human height, they show up often in everyday situations, from income distribution billions of people living on a few dollars a day, a handful of multibillionaires to the weather lots of small storms, just a few hurricane Katrinas. In general, an attack that causes 10 deaths is times as likely as one that kills The larger the event, the rarer it is.

At first the pattern seemed too clear and simple to be true.

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Not only did the data fit a power curve, but the shape of that curve was nearly identical to the one describing the Colombian conflict. Around that time, a Santa Fe Institute computer scientist named Aaron Clauset was applying the same approach to what seemed like a distinctly different problem.

Rather than looking at specific guerrilla movements, Clauset was examining total deaths caused by global terrorist attacks since When he plotted nearly 30, incidents on a graph, they formed a curve to the power of —2. The power number is negative because it reflects a decrease rather than an increase in the number of events as death tolls rise.

With its characteristic downward slope, the curve was eerily similar to those generated by Johnson and Spagat for Colombia and Iraq.

The discourse of Olympic security: London - Malcolm N MacDonald, Duncan Hunter,

To rule out coincidence, Johnson, Spagat, and University of Oxford physicist Sean Gourley gathered data on nine other insurgencies.

One after another, the curves clicked into place: The Indonesian campaign against rebels in East Timor from to The Palestinian second intifada:The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) was created in under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to promote security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the U.S.

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"The Olympics brings risks of terrorism that weren't in Brazil beforehand because of the event's huge media saturation and opportunity for assaults on soft targets such as athletes and tourists.

Brian Jackson is a senior analyst focused on homeland security and terrorism preparedness at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis. AbstractThis paper examines the intersections of terrorism, security and the Olympics. An empirical analysis of Olympic-related terrorism in the period – suggests the need to bring state terrorism into the analysis of terrorism at the Olympics. The empirical data presented in this study underline the significance of state terrorism in this context: . An empirical analysis of Olympic-related terrorism in the period – suggests the need to bring state terrorism into the analysis of terrorism at the Olympics.

Terrorism Threat Analysis: Terrorist attacks at sporting events are not uncommon. There were attempts at such events between and Canada Prepared for WMD Terrorism at Olympics (Feb. 16) -Canadian athletes participate in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver last Friday.

Canada has prepared a wide array of security measures aimed at preventing or responding to WMD incidents and other acts of terrorism (Adrian Dennis/Getty Images).

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