Date of Award


Document Type



Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Christopher M. Chini, PhD


How does the United States Air Force (USAF) assess and plan to replace their most critical drinking water infrastructure? The historical answer is to wait for it to break and then replace or repair the failed pipe. While this has been the process in the past, it is no longer a sustainable approach with resources and funding becoming more constrained in the public and private sectors, and aging assets approaching the end of their usable life. The USAF has taken the first step in asset management to identify their underground water lines, but they have not developed ways to convey resilience or the overall health of the critical infrastructure through a strategic maintenance plan. Current best practices for maintaining infrastructure use asset management techniques predicated upon timely investment and prioritization using quantified relationships of likelihood and consequence of failure. Asset management for built infrastructure has made a difference for maintenance in large organizations by providing the right resources in a timely manner to reduce burden and costs. However, much of the focus in the USAF has been on buildings and above ground assets, leading to the neglect of underground infrastructure systems. This neglect is due in part to the difficult nature of determining which assets a singular pipe supports or its relationship to the network of pipes. Network theory could help bridge the gap in asset prioritization and risk through its ability to assess the relationship between components of a drinking water system. By combining asset management and network theory metrics with spatial analysis, we can begin to isolate critical links and nodes inside the system to make educated sustainment decisions. Specifically, it is important to develop relational models between network structure and the facilities the system serves. To that end, we develop a weighted network metric for pipe criticality and importance measurement by combining Mission Dependency Indices (MDI) of facilities and shortest path calculation to create a Mission Weighted Importance Factor (MWIF).

AFIT Designator



A 12-month embargo was observed.

Approved for public release: 88ABW-2023-0346