Infrastructure Objective Resilience 2018

Inn at Ole Miss

March 27, 2018 – March 28, 2018

The United Nations calculates that natural disasters have cost $1.4 trillion and affected $1.7 billion people globally over the past decade. Despite the tremendous advances in science and technologies, natural (extreme hydrometeorological events, earthquake, etc.), manmade (industrial, accidental or malevolent) or environmental, disasters (climate change and drought) constitute increasingly disruptive events. These disaster impacts are devastating to economies, communities, and global security due to the cascading and common cause failures propagated by aging and inadequate capacity. The purpose of this workshop is to bring together main stake holders of the Nation’s infrastructure sectors for a round table discussion to discuss the latest progress in objective resilience and to recommend needed transformative research that could yield to improvement of the Nation’s infrastructure resilience against natural and man-made threats.

In recent years there has been a growing interest in ensuring resilience of critical infrastructures that are vital to the socioeconomic development and homeland security of the U.S. The Southern U.S. including the entire Gulf Coast area and the Eastern Coast of the U.S. have experience in the past catastrophic flooding, storm surges and hurricanes. Mississippi Delta protected by levees are threatened by potential flooding risk. Northwest Mississippi is also a seismic region due to its proximity to the New Madrid fault line. Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mississippi River spring floods in 2008 and 2011, and more recently August 2016 floods in Louisiana, which caused loss of life and extensive property damage, have clearly shown that the extensive damage due to these disruptive events not only affect the socio-economy of the impacted region for a long period of time but also present a danger from the point of view the national security. These large scale recurrent events are mostly generated by forces beyond the control of humans. However, it is possible to mitigate their impacts on human systems and the environment through a science and technology based approach.

The National Infrastructure Advisory Council, an advisory group to the President, recommended that “Government should endeavor to better understand the role of design and construction in infrastructure resilience. Application of this understanding will help to shape the policy, R&D funding, and incentives that can spur technological innovation as well as the robust design and construction of critical infrastructures needed for resilience.”

State of the art review on this topic showed that there exist major knowledge gaps in the field of resilience. Important knowledge gaps include but not limited to: stakeholders, essential considerations/issues which constitute resilience, analytical processes and their applicability, interrelationships between different issues, what differentiates resilience from other asset management paradigms such as reliability, risk, and sustainability, role of technology (e.g., advanced materials, SHM, etc.), role of resilience communications. This workshop aims to address some/all of the above issues and tries to identify knowledge gaps and lay a road map to close some of those knowledge gaps. We recognize that resilience is a multidisciplinary and multi-organizational endeavor at its foundation. As such all essential disciplines need to participate in the proposed workshop. Among potential stakeholders are:

  • Owners/operators of different infrastructures (given the vastness of this category, perhaps a small representative sample might be enough)
  • Emergency managers
  • Fire, search, rescue, and recovery professionals
  • Researchers: both academic and research-oriented institutions
  • Professionals: engineers, architects, etc. (both practitioners and organizations)
  • Local, state, and federal officials
  • Law enforcement and security professionals

Conference Information