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I am working on passive defense modeling, using GIS. Modeling passive defense can be better implemented using GIS and I've come up with my own methods. It would be far better for me if I know there are any previous works on this area. I want to be informed about any application of GIS in passive and agent defense that are publicly available. For example, where to locate the military bases, so that we have the minimum casualties in the case of external attack.

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if this is not a literature review then you should make it clear what you actually need – iant Aug 28 '13 at 10:46
I am really curious and I cannot find anything on "passive defense modeling" on Google apart from this thread(!): what is it? (Apparently you are the first person ever to write this phrase and make it accessible to Google's search engine.) – whuber Aug 30 '13 at 19:03
This seems really obscure. Please share some of your research in order to better your chances of getting any kind of useful answer. – blah238 Aug 30 '13 at 20:10
That's just the thing. No one (as yet) appears able to help you without you providing some more information. – blah238 Sep 1 '13 at 20:38
Can you use some other words to describe what you are looking into? Pssive defence structures are mentioned in this article:… but that seems to be about defending against avalanches in particular. What are you modeling passively defending against? – Alex Leith Sep 2 '13 at 23:53
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have encountered some papers and talks on this and related field through my work on Risk Analysis, the journal of the Society for Risk Analysis. The most relevant recent paper is

  • A Risk-Based Approach to Setting Priorities in Protecting Bridges Against Terrorist Attacks. Risk Analysis Volume 24, Issue 4, August 2004, Pages: 963–984, Maria Leung, James H. Lambert and Alexander Mosenthal. Article first published online : 8 SEP 2004, DOI: 10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00500.x Abstract.

This is not specifically about a GIS application but it provides an approach to identifying factors, including geographic ones, that would have to be considered in optimizing military base location.

There are only one or two papers published per year (out of several hundred) in this highly-regarded journal that make significant use of GIS. If anyone is applying GIS to risk assessment (of any sort), consider publishing an account of it there.

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This looks interesting: "ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE DEFENSE AGAINST A STRATEGIC ATTACKER" (their caps, not mine). While it doesn't explicitly address GIS, it seems like spatial analysis could be used in determining the vulnerability component of the model.

enter image description here

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Since 9/11 a game-theoretic approach to analyzing terrorism has become popular. This looks like such a model. Risk Analysis has been regularly publishing several papers annually on this topic. I haven't seen any that have (yet) applied GIS: the whole thing is pretty speculative anyway (and nobody is going to publish real data :-)). – whuber Sep 6 '13 at 18:41

TLDR: Combined Arms doctrine renders terrain defense moot.

This area of study is referred to as terrain defense doctrine.

The modeling you are proposing is possible, but would almost always return no result if the attack vectors are modern (air). Because terrain is rendered moot if you can fly. This type of modeling is usually only considered against specific threats not general ones.

Defense positioning doctrine mostly refers to logistic offense not structural defense. You place hard assets to defend logistical assets like rivers and airports, not to defend the base itself.

The "text book" on terrain defense was mostly written by the Germans in their defense of France, but as they lost the terrain the issue of air superiority supersedes any terrain advantages.

German Doctrine of the Stabilized Front

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1… – Frank Phillips Sep 5 '13 at 15:26
+1 Very good points, But I am thinking more from the question the topics being sought relate more to defense operations in terms of facilities and siting; versus warfare concepts being modeled. – D.E.Wright Sep 5 '13 at 15:32
Only answered with doctrine because the question specifically referenced military bases and the positions effect on casualties in the event of attack. – Frank Phillips Sep 5 '13 at 17:35
Yes, but I wonder if we look functionally at the design concepts of siting/facilities the Germans used/created in Occupied France in WWI/WWII compared to thier established facilities in Germany we would see a very different thought process. Much like CONUS facilities versus NON-CONUS from the US-DOD standpoint. – D.E.Wright Sep 5 '13 at 19:32
I would think that the determining factor in choosing passive vs active defense would be immediate risk. Were occupied France would have a high immediate risk and there for require active defense, such as a pill box. The real take home is that passive defense can be a standalone doctrine, but active defense must have both active and passive ideals used in order to work. You can put in pill boxes to stop people but you must also apply passive doctrine to protect the river or power plant. – Frank Phillips Sep 6 '13 at 17:07

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