Decision Support on Security Investment

Investments in the security of European citizens have increased dramatically. Oftentimes the decisions are made behind closed doors – the focus on security issues overshadows the political, ethical and social aspects.

Security is often equalled to technology. This has led to a securitization of several areas of society, such as transport, public space, health care, etc. There is an urgent need for a decision support system which directs all processes that lead to decisions on security investment to be transparent and participatory.

DESSI’s goal is to support investment decisions by suggesting effective alternatives

The DESSI project (Decision Support on Security Investment) aims to develop a tool that will support decision-makers in situations, where different measures for a security-related problem are available. This enables a comparison and evaluation of different measures to promote transparency in decision-making and security policies. The comparison will be made within different dimensions that include benefits, threats and costs for a specific context/situation and possible security solutions. This approach will make the DESSI tool unique.

Security investment always includes a choice between different approaches to increasing security. DESSI makes this choice transparent by understanding the nature of a threat and describing and evaluating the security investment alongside its alternatives. The alternatives are identified or developed in a participatory process, including experts and stakeholders. As the views on the issue can be highly controversial, the inclusion of a broad range of relevant actors ensures that a wide spectrum of opinions is seriously taken on board in the assessment procedure.

Planned results

The DESSI project will provide a web-based decision support system, which will give insight into the pros and cons of specific security investments. It will contribute to a transparent and participatory decision-making that accounts for context and multi-dimensionality of society. It will be useful for public authorities, developers of security solutions, commercial enterprises and for social organizations that can use the DESSI tool to make their own comprehensive assessment as an input to strategic discussions or public debate.



  • Riedlinger, D. (2014). ITA-Dossier: Sicherheit ist mehr als Technik!. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2014). Security is more than technology! ITA dossier no. 7en (March 2014; Authors: Petra Wächter, Walter Peissl). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-007en
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2014). Sicherheit ist mehr als Technik! ITA-Dossier Nr. 7 (März 2014; AutorInnen: Petra Wächter, Walter Peissl). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-007
  • Wächter, P., & Peissl, W. (2013). DESSI Training Material, FP7 Project Decision Support on Security Investment. Vienna.
  • Wächter, P., & Peissl, W. (2013). DESSI Manual v2, FP7 Project Decision Support on Security Investment. Vienna.
  • Riedlinger, D. (2013). Alternative Sicherheitslösungen. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from
  • Moe, Å. R., Kaufmann, M., Klüver, L., & Peissl, W. (2012). Scenarios for security investment assessment, FP7 Project Decision Support on Security Investment (DESSI). Vienna/Copenhagen.
  • Kaufmann, M., Čas, J., Gazsó, A., Peissl, W., Wächter, P., Folker, M., et al. (2012). DESSI System of Criteria, FP7 Project Decision Support on Security Investment. Vienna/Copenhagen.
  • Čas, J. (2012). Systems of criteria in assessment procedures. Vienna.
  • Čas, J. et al. (2011). Dimensions in Security Investments. Vienna.
  • Wächter, P., & Čas, J. (2011). Welche Investitionen für welche Sicherheit? ITA als Partner in neuem EU-Sicherheitsforschungsprojekt. Ita-Newsletter, März 2011, 3 f.Retrieved from
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Conference Papers/Speeches

Conference Papers/Speeches

  • 10/10/2013 , San Diego
    Walter Peissl: 
    Multidimensional and participatory decision-making – the example of security technologies
    Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • 24/06/2013 , Copenhagen
    Walter Peissl: 
    DESSI – Idea, Methodology and Procedure
    International DESSI Conference
  • 13/06/2013 , Berlin
    Walter Peissl: 
    EU Sicherheitsforschung – Systemgestaltung durch interdisziplinäre Beiträge
    Konferenz: Sichere Zeiten? Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der Sicherheitsforschung
  • 04/06/2013 , Wien
    Walter Peissl: 
    DESSI – Multidimensional Decision-Making with Participatory Elements: The case of security technologies
  • 05/06/2012 , Vienna
    Walter Peissl: 
    A brief introduction into the DESSI method
    Intl. Workshop 'Security in Court Houses'
  • 20/03/2012 , Wien
    Walter Peissl: 
    Introduction to DESSI and it´s dimensions
    DESSI 5th Consortium Meeting
  • 10/09/2011 , Wien
    Johann Cas: 
    '9/11’ als Startschuss zum Überwachungswahn? (Einleitungsvortrag)
    Podiumsdiskussion im Rahmen der "Freiheit statt Angst"-Tage 2011
  • 28/06/2011 , Oslo
    Walter Peissl: 
    Introduction to DESSI and it’s dimensions
    DESSI Dimensions Workshop „Making better security decisions – How do we get there?“
  • 17/01/2011 , Kopenhagen
    Walter Peissl: 
    DESSI – Introduction to basic concepts of the DESSI methodology
    DESSI Kick-off Meeting
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