Resiliency of the California Milk and Dairy Industry by Robert G. Alexander

Rob completed his masters thesis at NPS in the fall of 2011. His work concentrated on modeling the milk supply in California.  Below you will find his executive summary, the thesis itself, and a final presentation of his thesis results.

Executive Summary

This thesis analyzes the milk and dairy industry in California focusing on the production, processing, and distribution of bulk milk at the county level. The model we use examines the sensitivity of this industry when faced with worst-case disruptions. We utilize Attacker Defender (AD) modeling techniques to determine where worst-case disruptions occur. This informs us where vulnerabilities exist within the milk and dairy industry. We examine three specific scenarios: (1) a quarantine of each county due to a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak or any other event that would cause the complete stoppage of production, processing and movement of milk in a county over a seven day period; (2) 1 to 15 attacks on the milk and dairy industry in a 45 day time period; and (3) the isolation of Northern and Southern California over a seven day time period that could be cause by a natural disaster.

In our model, we create a network that approximates the flow of milk starting at the dairy farms where milk production occurs, moving to processing facilities, and eventually getting to the consumers in California. We use an abstraction from the Food Agriculture Sector Criticality Assessment Tool (FASCAT) as our basis for the milk and dairy industry, and we incorporate major highways into the network to connect all of the counties in California. We also take into account the rapid movement of milk by introducing a time component to the model. The resulting model enables us to estimate where the worst-case disruptions occur and analyze the impact of varying disruption scenarios.

Our model produces key insights into the milk and dairy industry. We learn that the overall milk and dairy industry is able to be very responsive to worst-case disruptions, and that five simultaneous attacks are necessary to cause shortages to California consumers. We also learn that separating Northern and Southern California, as may be caused temporarily by large-scale flooding can have drastic consequences to the supply of bulk milk, causing shortages in Southern California.

Thesis Presentation

Complete Thesis

Alexander, R. G. (2011). Ensuring Resiliency of the Milk and Dairy Industry in California (Masters Thesis).  Naval Postgraduate School.


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