The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen the University of Southern California as the site for the first of what are expected to be several science and technology “centers of excellence” for antiterrorism research. The USC center, called the Homeland Security Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, is slated to receive $12 million during the next three years. USC was selected from 70 applicants.

Randolph Hall, chairman of the university’s School of Engineering, and Detlof von Winterfeldt of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, will jointly head the center. Researchers will “address both the targets and means of terrorism, with emphasis on protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure systems, such as electric power, transportation, and telecommunications,” according to a USC statement.

USC researchers, who have extensive experience in how to respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes, will involve the school’s advanced computer modeling and...

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