Assessing and Analyzing Chemical Production Infrastructure

Gotchel, Andy and Love, Gregory


The chemical industry has been a central component in the long-term economic development of countries throughout the world. A prosperous chemical industry provides positive spillover benefits to a wide range of other industries, both civilian and military. In particular, there is a strategic interest in understanding how the chemical industry contributes to military capabilities.

The presentation will demonstrate how system dynamics (SD) has been applied to rapidly assess the capabilities and vulnerabilities of a specific chemical production complex. The authors will conduct a simulation of a phosphate fertilizer complex that could be located anywhere in the world. These facilities produce general-purpose fertilizers for agricultural use, but can also manufacture chemical intermediates that have sensitive military applications. The demonstration will show how an SD model can be configured to match a specific production facility followed by a series of scenarios designed to analyze vulnerabilities. By using the simulation model to rapidly analyze vulnerabilities, a recommended targeting strategy can be developed that is tailored to specific mission objectives.

There are several benefits of developing SD models to simulate chemical production. SD is an effective tool for characterizing complex problems, especially the production process where the cascading effect of outages quickly taxes common understanding. By programming expert knowledge into an SD application, these tools are transformed into a knowledge management resource that facilitates rapid learning without requiring years of experience in production operations. It also permits the analyst to rapidly respond to crisis situations and other time-sensitive missions. Most importantly, the quantitative understanding gained from applying the SD model lends itself to strategic analysis and planning.



Contact Information:

Andy Gotchel

Joint Warfare Analysis Center

18385 Frontage Road

Dahlgren, Virginia, 22448-5500



(540) 653-5719