University at Albany

PVC Staff

Victor Asal, Co-Director

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In addition to being co-director of PVC, Victor Asal is Chair of the Department of Public Administration, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the director of the Homeland Security Certificate and MPA Concentration in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. He received his PhD in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.  He is also, along with R. Karl Rethemeyer,  the co-director of the Project on Violent Conflict.  Dr. Asal is affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. Dr. Asal’s research focuses on the choice of violence by nonstate organizational actors as well as the causes of political discrimination by states against different groups. In addition, Prof. Asal has done research on the impact of nuclear proliferation and on the pedagogy of simulations.  Asal has been involved in research projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, The Department of Homeland Security, The National Science Foundation, and  The Office of Naval Research.  

Prof. Asal teaches  courses on world and comparative politics, political violence, negotiation and research design. He has worked as a negotiation trainer in a variety of settings, most notably as a trainer for army officers, and civil servants running simulations on negotiation, democracy, and crisis behavior. Asal has also, in conjunction with the ICONS Project, created simulations on varied topics, including the India-Pakistan Kashmiri crisis, minority peoples in Indonesia, a U.S. Senate bill mark-up process, and war crime. Working with ICONS, Asal has facilitated crisis leadership training seminars for the United States Office of Personnel Management.

R. Karl Rethemeyer, Co-Director

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R. Karl Rethemeyer currently serves as Interim Dean of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany - SUNY. Dr. Rethemeyer’s primary research interest is in social networks, their impact on social, political, and policy processes, and the methods used to study such networks. A graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Dr. Rethemeyer has presented work at numerous conferences, including the Academy of Management (AOM), American Political Science Association (ASPA), Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Dr. Rethemeyer has work published and forthcoming in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM), Public Administration Review (PAR), the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART), the International Public Management Journal (IPMJ), the Journal of Politics (JOP), Conflict Management and Peace Science (CMPS), and the Journal of Security Education (JSE).

Corina Simonelli, Program Manager 

Corina Simonelli is the Program Manager of the Project on Violent Conflict (PVC). Simonelli graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in political science from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in 2013. She previously worked as a Faculty Research Assistant at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) supervising the perpetrator and target teams of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). While a student at the University of Albany, Simonelli spent three years conducting research on terrorism and data automation for PVC. Her responsibilities as Program Manager include managing data collection, training and supervising student coders, and ensuring the quality of all the data produced by the research project.

Brian Nussbaum, Associate Researcher

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Dr. Brian Nussbaum is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy. His focus is on cybersecurity and cyber threats, terrorism and terrorism analysis, homeland security, risk and intelligence analysis, and critical infrastructure protection. Dr. Nussbaum formerly served as senior intelligence analyst with the New York State Office of Counter Terrorism (OCT), a part of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES). He oversaw both terrorism and cyber threat analysis efforts at New York's designated state fusion center, the New York State Intelligence Center (NYSIC). Dr. Nussbaum served as a subject matter expert on international terrorism, and helped to create NYSIC's Cyber Analysis Unit (CAU). He worked for almost a decade in New York State's homeland security agencies and was the author and project lead on the New York State risk-based funding formula, a formula that was used to distribute over $300 million dollars in Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds between 2006 and 2014.

Additionally, Dr. Nussbaum served as the first-ever Visiting Professor of Homeland Defense in the Strategic Wargaming Division at the Center for Strategic Leadership and Development, part of the United States Army War College in Carlisle, PA (2012-2013). As such, he has experience in war gaming, simulation, and professional education incorporating interactive and active-learning techniques.

Dr. Nussbaum received his PhD and MA in Political Science from the University at Albany and BA in Political Science from Binghamton University. His work has appeared in numerous books and journals including Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Global Crime, and the Journal of Applied Security Research.​

David L. Rousseau, Associate Researcher

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Professor Rousseau's research interests focus on military conflict, shared identity, political development, and foreign policy. His first book, which is entitled Democracy and War: Institutions, Norms, and the Evolution of International Conflict (Stanford University Press, 2005), examines the relationship between institutional structures and political norms within international disputes using statistical analyses, historical case studies, laboratory experiments, and computer simulations. His second book, which is entitled Identifying Threats and Threatening Identities: The Social Construction of Realism and Liberalism (Stanford University Press, 2006), explores the impact of shared identity on threat perception. In addition to his book publications, Professor Rousseau has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and the Journal of Peace Research. Professor Rousseau received his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and his PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan. Prior to arriving at the University at Albany, Professor Rousseau taught at Korea University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University at Buffalo (SUNY).