Improving Risk Assessment Communication

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Military Operations Research Society Journal, Vol: 2, Issue: 1, Page: 5-20

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Gallagher, Mark A.; MacKenzie, Cameron A.; Blum, David M.; Boerman, Douglas A.
risk; measures; metrics; probability; assessment; and decision analysis
article description
Assessors often diminish communicating risk to show a single category or color without providing a full context of the evaluation, basis, and assumptions behind the risk assessment. We attempt to remedy that by presenting an approach to communicate risk assessments more completely with a clearer understanding of these issues. First, we specify assessor should present necessary information as part of a standard risk assessment statement. This information is discussed in four groups: 1) the activity or a collection of activities being assessed, 2) the context of the assessment (who made it, when, with what scope, and how rigorously), 3) setting of the assessment (scenario, assumed conditions, timeframe, assumed choices, and mitigation measures), and 4) the resulting assessment. Second, we propose an approach to standardize the presentation of the actual assessment by applying the principles of simplicity, scalability, and consistency. The assessor needs to develop outcome-centric measures for key activities to provide a basis to assess the potential consequences, determine the success and failure points of the activity, and present the expected outcome for each scenario setting. We standardize the presentation of the risk assessments as categorical risks, such as colored ranges, by apportioning the expected consequences on the metric scales. We discuss combining assessments for a single activity and for an aggregate activity. The United States Air Force has implemented both our standard risk statement and our presentation approach.