Approach for Designing Civilian Structures Against Terrorist Attack


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Title: Approach for Designing Civilian Structures Against Terrorist Attack

Author(s): Eve Hinman

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 175


Appears on pages(s): 1-18

Keywords: blast resistant construction; explosions; optimization

Date: 12/1/1998

Hardening structures against weapons effects has been, until recently, of concern almost exclusively of the military. However, with the increase of terrorist activities directed against civilian targets, there is a growing interest in applying these principles to the design of non-military structures. A design approach is presented for civilian structures subject to an external explosion. The issues addressed are threat assessment, countermeasures, weapons effects, analytical techniques, and optimization techniques used. Introduction In military terminology, terrorism is considered low-grade warfare. As such, many of the principles used to design military targets are applicable to the protective design of civilian targets subject to terrorist attack. However, the objectives of design are different for civilian targets. For military facilities the primary objective is to maintain function after attack. ‘Function’ refers to essential activities such as launching a missile or maintaining communications or intelligence. For civilian facilities the primary objective is to save lives while preserving the non-military character of the facility; maintaining function becomes a secondary issue. Because of this difference, protective design principles need to be reevaluated. In this paper the fundamental principles of military facility design are used to develop a rational approach to the design of new civilian structures. These ideas are also applicable to the retrofit of existing structures. This paper is partially based on work done for the Foreign Buildings Office of the US Department of State in developing engineering guidelines for protecting US embassies abroad. Threat and Countermeasures There are many possible threats to be considered in the design of civilian structures (Fig. 1). Some threats are excluded, such as aerial attack or nuclear attack because they are impractical to design for. Other threats are not