November 28, 2022

Editor’s Introduction

Richard W. Schwester, Ph.D.
Managing Editor

The Journal of Critical Incident Analysis (JCIA) is an initiative of the Academy for Critical Incident Analysis (ACIA) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. ACIA was founded for the purpose of promoting a scholarly dialogue relating to the emergence, management, and consequences of critical incidents. Accordingly, JCIA is an extension of this purpose, and it is envisioned as an outlet for empirical research and theoretical discussions about critical incidents.

In issue two of volume one of JCIA, we present three refereed articles and one invited monograph. In the first article, “Can the Cognitive Engineering Approach Prevent Normal Accidents,” Groner discusses automation and situational awareness failures in the context of complex systems. The Three Mile Island incident is used extensively as an example.

In the second article, “Large-Scale Disasters: Mechanistic Framework for Prediction, Control, and Mitigation,” Gad-el-Hak presents a metric for quantifying the magnitude of disasters, which is based on the number of people affected and the geographic scope of the disaster. The author further discusses a wide range of incidents, and categorizes each incident based on the metric developed.

In the third article, “Disaster and Recovery: The Public and Private Sectors in the Aftermath of the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco,” Coate discusses how an effective public-private partnership enabled the city to rebuild within three years of this epic disaster. The author argues that San Francisco’s recovery is a function of the government safeguarding property rights in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, as well as championing a market oriented approach to the city’s rebuilding.

Each year, ACIA sponsors a case conference that focuses on a particular critical incident. In 2009, the ACIA community chose the Virginia Tech shooting. Insights emerged during the conference about the importance of communication between security personnel, mental health professions, and college administrators. What emerged was a symposium held in March 2010 on the campus of Columbia University. This symposium brought together administrators, directors of student life and counseling services, and public safety officials from several institutions in the New York area, along with a number of other experts and observers. Virginia Tech University was also represented. Isaac’s monograph, “Communication and Trust: Pathways to Safer Campuses,” chronicles the proceedings of this symposium.

Finally, I would like to thank JCIA’s editorial board members and referees for their efforts, as well as our contributors for considering JCIA as an outlet for their work.