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In recent years, there has been a growing concern that targeted acts of terrorism, focused on critical economic infrastructure, could produce cascading social and economic effects on a very wide scale. The authors carry out a scenario analysis and strategic gaming revolving around a catastrophic terrorist attack on the Port of Long Beach. The authors describe the results from this investigation and provide many of the primary results from the analysis in the appendixes. The analysis tools developed by the authors for this study lay the groundwork for research exploring both the short- and long-term effects of catastrophic events. The need is pressing to continue such investigations, particularly of longer-term economic repercussions. This work would entail developing scenarios for a new generation of strategic games. The overarching goals would be to gain insight into the decision landscape in the months following attacks of this magnitude with a focus on identifying where existing systems are likely to fail and evaluating the benefits of a range of potential economic policies. With these types of tools, policymakers could start to anticipate the types of decisions they might be called upon to make, reflect in times of relative calm on their options, and plan well in advance for contingencies.

The research described in this report was conducted by the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy.

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