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Discussing the BAAD

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 8, 2018) – The UAlbany professors known for developing a database used across the world to analyze terrorist organizations both large and small in order to understand how they function offered their insight to a packed crowd at the University Club of Albany this week.

Karl Rethemeyer, interim dean of Rockefeller College and Victor Asal, chair of public administration, were asked by the University Club to speak about the Big, Allied and Dangerous (BAAD) database they created as part of their roles leading the Project on Violent Conflict, a research center that works to advance the study of all forms of political violence.

asal and rethemeyer
Developed by professors Karl Rethemeyer (left) and Victor Asal, BAAD provides a better understanding of how terrorist organizations network and function over time.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, beginning in 2005 the pair worked to create a database that would compile detailed and nuanced information on hundreds of terrorist organizations around the globe. The goal was to allow policy makers, analysts, scholars and the public to investigate trends in organizational attributes and how these correlate with issues such as lethality, target selection, and use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense weapons. With this goal in mind, BAAD came to life.

"The dataset arose from our desire to move the quantitative analysis on terrorist behavior from the country-level to the organizational-level cross-nationally so that we could better explain and predict why some organizations are so much more dangerous than others," said Asal when the dataset was first launched.

"The Big Allied and Dangerous dataset is unique in that it provides a yearly snapshot of both organizational and network data," said Rethemeyer. "We believe that this dataset will help policymakers identify key factors to monitor and provide researchers with new opportunities to understand how the behavior of terrorist organizations changes over time."

“The University Club was pleased to host a conversation with Professors Rethemeyer and Asal; their terrorism research brings hard facts and data to an area of public policy that can be dominated by emotional responses,” said Teresa M. Casey, Vice President of the University Club of Albany.

BAAD is now housed at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorist and Responses to Terrorism.

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