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ISSN : 1598-7248 (Print)
ISSN : 2234-6473 (Online)
Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Vol.17 No.1 pp.136-145

Vulnerability Assessment of the Critical Infrastructure against Man-Made Threats (Case Study: International Civilian Airports)

Gholamreza Jalali Farahani, Mohammad Hassan Ataee Kachoee*, Mohammad Ali Ataee Kachoee
Supreme National Defense University, Tehran, Iran
Critical Infrastructure Protection, Malek-Ashtar University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Islamic Azad University of Parand, Tehran, Iran
Corresponding Author,
August 18, 2017 September 26, 2017 September 27, 2017


Civilian airport is currently considered as one of the valuable assets of any country in the world and is considered as air boundaries; and have a great importance, so that any malfunctions or affair comprise to their body, will cause to the enormous material and moral damages and taking steps to reduce their vulnerability against threats, it will be essential and indispensable. What this study has been investigated is vulnerability assessment civilian airport against Man-made threats based on principles and the principles of passive defense. existence research is Applied (developmental) and analytical method - evaluative and evaluated by using FEMA techniques and individual vulnerability of key assets AHP Airport and went on to enumerate several factors which increase their vulnerability and qualitative analysis to provide solutions to reduce vulnerability. The vulnerability of airport key assets against hard, semi-hard, soft and special threats reckon quantitatively evaluated that based on the results from the opinions of experts The most vulnerabilities assets passenger terminal and car parking, Channel installations, office buildings, hangars for repairs and servicing of the systems, protective buildings, water tanks and water treatment pavilion for ceremonies are against special threats, assess Fueling area, Building Ground Safety (Fire), flight control tower building, Specialized equipment and bonded warehouses, Taxi and apron are against hard threats, assets installations for power stations and navigation equipment (radar), are against semi-hard threats, the asset approach control tower equipment against soft threat. And continuing investigation each of the above asset quality vulnerabilities was investigated.



    Infrastructure or vital arteries including systems and assets, whether physical or spiritual which are essential for a nation and any disruption in service can have a serious impact on national security, economic prosperity, public health or safety, or a combination of them (Zhang et al., 2015: 7). These infrastructures are used for the production and distribution of goods and services in urban and the possibility of living in cities also depends on the quality and quantity of a function of these arteries (Svendsen and Wolthusen, 2007: 51) With the attitude to the war in recent decades we conclude that the enemy invasion has been focused on vulnerable infrastructure as with the lowest cost and power, take the defense capability of the invaded country and cause to an enormous material and moral damages (Atai, 2015: 35). Different parts of the airport and diverse and complex facilities led to a range of threats to dysfunction may be involved (Li and Xu, 2015: 780).

    The airport parts such as runway, control tower, airport customs, mechanical and electrical installations, guidance and control systems and the rest of the airport parts can seriously be threatened by threats such as missiles, terrorism, sabotage, cyber threats, bioterrorism and ... and they disrupts the performance of the airport and impose a negative effect. So the vulnerability assessment resulting from perceived threats in different parts of the airport becomes necessary. Every day somewhere in the world we are evidence of the destruction of national infrastructure devastating effects of the bombing and fire of enemies and today, this trend is not stopped and will continue. Because critical infrastructure in each country for reform and for synergistic continue and develop the economic activities, social, political and tied a country infrastructure and the importance of each position should be determined. Hence it can be concluded that in the case of critical infrastructure, especially transportation infrastructure such as airports, have attempted to assess the vulnerability threats. It attempts to understand the weaknesses of aviation infrastructure, especially airports and with determining the attractiveness for the invasion attempted to provide solutions and passive defense measures to reduce the vulnerability.

    Passive defense considered as the context of sustainable development and one of the most effective and stable defense techniques against threats and essentially and essentially measures and passive defense in different areas, including structures and ground infrastructure, such as airports (Ghazanfari, 2014). In following by a reviewing the available literature on the vulnerability of airports passive defense approach is examined. In an article titled Cioaca “Assessment of aviation infrastructure vulnerability against terrorist threats” examine the probability of threats, especially the airport’s terminal passenger and in order to neutralize or reduce the effects of terrorist threats on terminals offers recommendations (Cioacӑ, 2013: 145). Wood in an article on the subject “the design of airport and operation of security approach” relations between different applications and integrated management of the airport express in the face of terrorist threats. Its author with overcoming the traditional view of the airport limits it to runway band and terminal and has a new approach to the airport. In this new approach, the airport considers as a complex system of equipment and capital of a region that has possibility of crippling losses against terrorism (Wood, 2005: 14) Alcaraz and Zeadally (2015) in the article “Protection of critical infrastructure requirements and challenges of the 21st century” believe that critical infrastructure plays a very important role in supporting modern society. Reliability, performance, continuity of service, safety, maintenance, and protection are the infrastructure of national priorities for countries around the world.

    The authors examine the vulnerabilities and threats to critical infrastructure modernization with an emphasis on industrial control systems and ways to protect them and also refers to a number of challenges such as security management pointed out on the field (Alcaraz and Zeadally, 2015: 58). Brown and colleagues in a paper “Analysis of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure against attacks and defense planning” introduce human-made threats paid noticed to infrastructure and due to the threat provide the strategies of vulnerability reduction. The greatest threats are infrastructure, terrorist threats and bombings and suggested solutions such as intelligent location (Brown et al., 2005: 127).

    And Xu in an article “the analysis of airport network vulnerability based on fuzzy logic: base on the structural and functional perspective” states that recently, much attention has been on reliability and vulnerability of critical infrastructures. In the air traffic systems, analyze vulnerabilities to networks can be used to guide the organization of air traffic and more importantly the maintenance of airports, as well as to avoid unnecessary disruptions in flight schedules. In this paper, firstly, indicators assess the importance of both airport and the functional topological view is presented. In the second stage, an integrated evaluation method based on fuzzy theory to identify key airport according to the index of the first stage is provided and the third step is to evaluate the accuracy of the method of choice in China and the United States of America Airports compared and the similarities and differences between geographic distribution and distribution of airport discussed the importance of the airport (Li and Xu, 2015: 781). More studies mentioned above, despite its importance, try to understand the general characteristics addressed airports and at higher levels of vulnerability assessment will have on its agenda. But this study examined individual components and the vulnerability of airports any deliberate man-made threats are extracted.


    The present study aims to investigate the current situation and extracting software vulnerabilities civilian components airports against man-made threats, accordingly, the research methods is descriptive methods. In order to collect and analyze data quantitative and qualitative research approaches can be used. That in this research combination of the methods (quantitative-qualitative) is selected.

    To determine the damage caused by their occurrence and strategies to reduce the vulnerability the library, interview (qualitative) as well as for vulnerability assessment of damage and the extraction of the damage (quantitative) by provided techniques the United States of America by the Federal Agency for crisis management has been benefited. The population in this study is all experts which jointly have experience in the area of civil defense and expertise airport accordingly, about 150 experts the two domains were identified. The study comprised 100 community experts of which 48 were chosen through Cochran targeted sampling.

    2.1 Analysis Method

    In this study, AHP and FEMA have been used to analyze the data. After distributing the questionnaires civilian airport and vulnerability assessment completed by community research experts, comments of experts based on the arithmetic mean Likert score that is known as FEMA method. But provided scores are not an effective way to assess threats to the civilian airport; because they are not included the index weight. In this regard, with taking into account the weight of each indicator the properly evaluate the vulnerability of civilian airports can be achieved that this issue is done by using AHP.

    2.2 Theoretical Foundations

    If recognizing the danger threatening event in the field of study and possible damage as a result of it, properly achieved, the level and type of action to deal with these damages as well as the individual scale is widely defined and developed. Hence it seems pathology studies the threat of a second after the studies are an integral part of all defense studies (active and passive). Vulnerability is not a static phenomenon but is considers as a dynamic process which changes the probability of losses and effects on them.

    Researchers are focusing on two types of vulnerability. The first vulnerability of people is in the face of disaster, ie to what extent people are in danger and to what extent it can overcome its effects. The second vulnerability organizations and key systems such as: equipment, networks, and emergency toward disaster. Vulnerability is an analytical tool in studies of urban security. Analysis and assessment of vulnerability provide a new basis for urban planning Gari and Swartz (2003). Vulnerability includes two components: Susceptibility and Resilience.

    Susceptibility means the community, the individual or organization in question to what extent has the ability to damage. Susceptibility can be analyzed from two perspectives positive and negative. The negative aspects we can say about its proximity to a fault and its positive aspects easy access to a geographic region can be cited (Snaider, 2004: 10). Resilience is said to the adaptability of society, organizations or groups at risk or affected by the crisis to bear the damage, repair, according to the retrieval of an emergency. Resilience can be said to quickly measure a system's restoration of crises with which it is faced. The greater resilience, less damage is caused and the healing process faster and return to the original state is easier. For example, a variety of activities such as retrofitting of buildings, first aid training, smoke detector installed to deal with the fire and insurance are all increased community resilience (Bajpai et al., 2000: 262). According to the above definition include vulnerability analysis the determination of the susceptibility of a community, the individual or organization in the damage of the possible risk and resilience against crises that are facing. The vulnerability can be calculated by multiplying the susceptibility in Resilience (Handmer, 2002: 49). It includes the measures that try to avoid vulnerability threats and the passive defense. Passive defense by reducing the vulnerability is trying to reduce the damaging effects of threats on the path of development.

    What should aim at reducing the vulnerability as follows (Jalali, 2013):

    • Low degree of risk

    • Reduction of threats and attacks

    • Reduction of damage to facilities and complexes

    • Reduction of the loss of human resources

    • Damage reduction of the equipment

    As a result, the meaning of vulnerability reduction is removing weaknesses in the design, employing, or assisting performance and reduction damage to the asset. Including vital asset of any country is its airport. Airports based on their usage divided to two type of the civilianmilitary the civilian airport spatial area that for the purpose of establishing air communication between different locations, has the task of providing services to civilians. Today, airports and relevant communication networks and the sustainability of their activities in times of crisis, not as a requirement, but as an inevitable necessity and efforts should be pursued at the macro level (Alexander and Young, 2004). There are valuable assets and facilities of capital construction, communications equipment, telecommunications, and navigation, aircraft and manpower expert at airports has caused in times of peace and crisis airport to continue activities to become one of the major concerns of authorities that achieving this goal will not be achieved except by applying the principles of passive defense. Apply standards and passive defense in critical infrastructure to increase its deterrence and facilitate the management of crisis and to reduce the likelihood of invasion airport will have many negative consequences for the enemy and, if possible invasion, the enemy without preset goals will be a huge loss. In addition, since air transport infrastructure, including airports prerequisite for balanced development in other sectors, and the de-velopment of economic, political, cultural, social and national security remains increase, it is necessary civil defense requirements and considerations to be observed at all levels of its operation (Cioacӑ, 2013).


    3.1 The Main Components of Civilian Airport

    The airports are basically divided into two parts, land and air (Saffarzadeh and Masoumi, 2005: 83) The air section of land is privacy and direct physical facili-ties and equipment in connection with services related to takeoff and landing, stop and moving the plane and with security take part from the ground set (Graham, 2013: 102). Ground Segment to set buildings, facilities, and equipment that physical border is blocked or securi-ty control stations affiliated with the plane surfaces are separated. Ground Segment plays set tasks providing services to clients from the city and planes from the parking (Kazda and Caves, 2007: 56).

    3.1.1 Runway

    The runway is said to the place in which an aircraft takeoff and landing that could be asphalt or concrete. Runways name and address by a 2-digit number in two distinct (Vali, 2014).

    3.1.2 Apron

    The Aprons are premises that convenient location near the airport terminals for temporary keeping that use to collect and load dock, board, and alighting of passengers, park, repair and refueling aircraft (Alexan-der and Young, 2004).

    3.1.3 Area Control Center

    This unit consists of a navigation aid systems to guide aircraft and identification radars is .figure below A view of a flight path control units and related equip-ment (Alexander and Young, 2004). Figure. 1

    3.1.4 Approach

    At airports that have a higher number of flights and also in areas where due to existing several airports there are a high the volume of air traffic and airport traffic conflict is higher than usual for more coordina-tion between flight path control unit and the control tower unit and further safety of fly approach control unit is responsible for directing air traffic control tower (Alexander and Young, 2004).

    3.1.5 Tower

    Tower is responsible for air traffic control units within the cylindrical-shaped (funnel-fly) from the air-port to a certain height (Vali, 2014).

    3.1.6 Hangars for Maintenance and Repairs

    This space made in order to provide aircraft maintenance services with the tolerability of various aircraft in the aviation sector of the airport (Vali, 2014).

    3.1.7 Passenger Terminal

    Passenger terminal space is the main connectors between system components of the aviation sector's access to land. This space includes facilities and equipment for the processing of incoming and outgoing passengers and transporting passengers and cargo to the aircraft and vice versa. Also, some part of the administrative and operational activities is done in the airport passenger terminal (Vali, 2014).

    3.1.9 Airport Facility

    Airports generally have a range of facilities and buildings that by providing basic facilities Activity such as water supply and sewage, posts electricity, gas net-works, telecommunication systems, lighting, heating and cooling ventilation system activity at the airport ... bed early (Alexander and Young, 2004).

    3.1.10 Refueling

    The refueling in the airport is obliged to procure, transport, storage, and fuel transport aircraft at the air-port (Saffarzadeh, 2005: 690).

    3.1.11 Airport Weather Station

    In order to control air traffic, meteorology reliable information is needed as changes in atmospheric condi-tions must be detected and at the time of the pilots will be notified in the shortest time (Saffarzadeh and Masoumi, 2005: 691).

    3.1.12 Special Protective and Police

    In order to control and monitor the security police in different parts of airport special protective and police is central responsibility airport as to interact and cooperate with each other to be part of airport security and do preventive measures deregulation (Vali, 2014).

    3.2 Explanation of Indicators and Criteria of Vulnerability

    In this study, in order to extract the main components of injuries before the civilian airport, the survey and analysis of qualitative data are used. It is obvious to extract vulnerabilities in the infrastructure needed to the criteria for assessing the vulnerability that continues to define these criteria will be discussed. It is worth noting indicator divided to five categories from very low to very highquality degrees, the highest score is 10 and the less number is 1. Then, by using the Delphi method, preference of the components associated with indicators of vulnerability airport extracted.

    • Weakness of confrontation

    It shed to the amount of power or weakness of facing of threats to key assets. The ability of confrontation depends on several factors inherent to the environment include (Jalali, 2013: 130):

    • A) Intrinsic factors: small, breadth, difficult, costly

    • B) Environmental factors: regional planning, defense requirements

    • Weakness of protection and defenses tools

    This index is said to the strength or weakness of facing attacks by the threat and depends on key assets. But here the principle is not to prevent the attack. Important Factors affecting the weakness of protection and defensive measures are as following (Jalali, 2013: 131):

    • A) Regional preparation

    • B) Having protective equipment and security

    • Accessibility

    Access to assets, the amount of the available assets depends on the case of attack. In this component, the purpose is equity positions and obstacles in front of the enemy. So that the proximity or remoteness of the source of the threat and the presence or absence of barriers in accessing threat, will follow increase or decrease vulnerability. The goal is reachable if the enemy can come with enough manpower and equipment to successfully perform its mission. Accessibility is a general term, ease or difficulty of access and move closer towards the target (Jalali, 2013: 132). The basic steps in the detection capabilities are available:

    • Penetration and infiltration from the source to the target area and move from the entry point towards a target area

    • Move to the sensitive components of the target area and the exit and escape from the target site

    • The possibility of discovering and identifying

    The possibility of discovering and identifying depends on the application of the principles of camouflage, concealment, and covering. So that each of these principles better and more considered, risk and vulnerability will be reduced accordingly. This parameter depends on the complexity of the threat gender and even the size of the target and also weather conditions. The target possibility of discovering and identifying is the recognition and identification with resources, equipment and information systems and intruder detection in different conditions. Climatic conditions have a significant impact on the vision; rain, snow, and fog, and thereby reduce the detection and identification. Other factors such as distance, light, and seasons of the year also included in the detection target (Jalali, 2013: 133). Table 1

    3.2.1 Quantitative Analysis of Vulnerability Components of CIVILIAN Airports

    In order to validate the results of vulnerability assessment in the first step, the vulnerability assessment indicators should be weighted. This is because of the impact of each index weight in vulnerability assessment of threats to the components of civilian airports in the event. Because all presented indicators have equal weight. In order to give weight to the above-mentioned index after adjusting inventory, distribution and collecting the results of using the software Expert Choice AHP technique using checklists.

    After distributions the questioners vulnerability Assessment components of airport and its completion by the Airports civilian research experts, raw scoring and scoring by applying weights in Table 2 have been rendered. As can be seen on a Likert scoring is done that conventional method of risk assessment Fma is used.

    In fallowing, damage the base of each one of the components of threats against civilian airport inferred that from the perspective of professionals, expressed and they are visible in form of Table 2.

    3.2.2 Qualitative Analysis of Vulnerability Components of Civilian Airports

    Based on the results of quantitative analysis in the previous section, at the beginning of this section, relying on these threats, current status of each asset the main threats are analyzed qualitatively the same component And derived their weaknesses. In Table 3, the vulnerability is expressed in terms of assets.


    Civilian airports are as one of the spaces in the metropolitan cities, Due to the attractiveness and the possibility of being targeted by dissidents, are in need of development in the context of civil defense, To minimize their vulnerability. The aim of this study was to determine the quantitative and qualitative vulnerability facing the civilian airport and prioritization in each of the main components as one of the important steps in the study of civil defense has followed. Based on the results of this study, based on FEMA techniques that are the action of this study is to determine the vulnerability of some key components of civilian airports. In the case, each of the main components for a breakdown, the vulnerability threats are recognized, respectively (Table 2) after applying the weight of each indicator of vulnerability assessment, amount of damage caused by air strikes and missile, Bombings and explosive cargo has the highest value. In fallowing, vulnerabilities quality individual components are collected civilian airport (Table 3). it is obvious with sufficient knowledge of vulnerabilities can measures to eliminate or reduce the damage caused by the threats presented event operational and used them to improve the security of the airport. Accordingly, measures to reduce vulnerability and its corresponding solutions are briefly described in Table 4.



    Different parts of the airport runway.


    Priority threat assessment indicators affecting the civilian airport

    Vulnerability base in the main components of civilian airports (authors)

    Major vulnerabilities created in every single part of the main threats imposed by airport

    Adding up the reduction measures vulnerability and explanation the corresponding solutions


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