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Risk Decision advisory services and tools for federal government and other agencies

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What We Do

The Risk and Decision Team’s mission is to improve decision-making and stakeholder engagement through application and development of risk and decision science techniques. We can achieve this through various tools, including risk assessment, technology-supported stakeholder engagement, decision modeling, portfolio optimization, life cycle assessment, and software development. As a result of our work we can help clients to describe relevant risks, identify and compare risk management alternatives, develop consensus among disparate stakeholder groups, and provide repeatable and transparent processes for future decisions.


  • Adaptive Management: An approach to management of systems over time that uses performance measures to suggest management strategies.
  • Life Cycle Assessment: Management decisions can require thinking about how a product (e.g., electronics hardware) or material (e.g., dredged sediment) impacts or is impacted by the environment and society. We provide analysis and decision making guidance for problems that need to consider the product or material lifecycle.
  • Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: A keystone of our expertise is in developing decision support tools that facilitate effective selection of alternatives or evaluation of the current and future state of a problem based on input from our clients and other stakeholders. Many of these are in the environmental domain, though we have helped to solve problems in other areas as well.
  • Network Science: We are using network science approaches to inform work on how to evaluate resilience and other properties of complex systems.
  • Resilience of Complex Systems: We are pioneering efforts in the area of complex network assessment to facilitate design of engineered and ecological systems that perform well and gracefully recover from both known and unknown threats.
  • Resource Allocation: We provide advice and guidance on how to solve problems that require prioritizing or combining a collection of alternatives. We can help by offering knowledge and expertise in the areas of resource prioritization, value of information analysis, and portfolio analysis.
  • Risk Assessment: We provide advice on and conduct analysis of risks in a wide range of areas. Many of our projects involve risk assessment on complex environmental risks and emerging threats where information is limited or unknown.
  • Stakeholder Engagement with Technology Support (SETS): SETS is an approach to stakeholder engagement that enhances the quality and fairness of decision making. Stakeholders collaborate to collectively identify the important criteria to consider when making some decision as well as ways to evaluate alternative courses of action against these criteria using the tools of decision analysis (e.g., Linkov & Moberg, 2011).
  • Weight of Evidence (WoE): Our work in WoE has assisted engineers, regulators, and other groups to determine what to do based on the properties of the information they have available. We help by assisting these groups in developing principles and guidance for how to weigh or interpret different pieces of information when making a decision about, e.g., whether a material is hazardous.

Examples of ongoing and recent projects include

  • Sustainability assessment and recommendations for USACE New England District.
  • Decision analysis for levee rehabilitation and salmon recovery in Seattle, WA.
  • Climate change vulnerability assessment for the City of Cambridge’s urban forests.
  • Adaptive management strategy development for Florida Everglades restoration.
  • Software development for dredged materials management and bioaccumulation modeling.
  • Enhanced adaptive management modeling for river mercury remediation in VA.
  • Prioritizing NOAA mandates to maximize ocean services using portfolio optimization.
  • Decision support software design for energy efficiency planning at military facilities.
  • Portfolio optimization models for cost-constrained civil infrastructure management.
  • Creating a transparent evaluation and prioritization framework for cybersecurity countermeasures.
  • Building mathematical foundation for resilience in systems engineering.


Igor.Linkov@usace.army.mil, Ph.D., 617-233-9869 

Environmental Risk Assessment Branch (CEERD-EPR)
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center | Environmental Laboratory

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) solves tough engineering and environmental challenges. ERDC develops innovative solutions in civil and military engineering, geospatial sciences, water resources, and environmental sciences for the Army, DOD, civilian agencies, and our Nation’s public good. www.erdc.usace.army.mil Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Decision Science EL Environmental Lab ERDC LCA Linkov MCDA Network Science resilience Risk Analysis USACE