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IP Equations: Threat Formulation Subproject

The Strategic Assessment Group (SAG) of the Central Intelligence Agency sponsored a sub-project of IFs with the title of Threats and Opportunities Analysis (TAOS). Guided by Evan Hillebrand from SAG, a number of experts were drawn together to review and discuss enhancements to the IFs system, notably its representation of interstate politics. The participants were Stuart Bremer, Mark Crescenzi, Doug Lemke, Edward Mansfield, and Paul Senese.

The project ultimately facilitated the incorporation into IFs of insights from these individuals as well as work recommended by them See Crescenzi and Enterline (2001), Huth (1996), Mansfield (1994), and Tammen, Kugler, Lemke, Stam, Alsharabati, Abdollahian, Efird, and Organski (2000). See, also, Bennett and Stam (2003), who were good enough to provide an early manuscript draft of their book.

In addition, the project was able to draw on the database for militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) involving “the threat, display, or use of military force short of war” (Jones, Bremer and Singer 1996: 163). At the time of analysis for IFs the MIDs database did not extend beyond 1992, however, complicating estimation for the post-Cold War period.

Some of the parameters for relationships in the IFs threat calculation were derived from Bennett and Stam. Senese estimated parameters for the democracy relationships from MIDs data. And Lemke put together a set of estimated and literature-based parameters that helps determine most of the base-case values in IFs. The parameter determination was guided by the desire to create a set of what economists sometimes call “stylized facts,” indicating the contribution of various factors to higher or lower probabilities of conflict in a dyad. For a detailed description of the work from that project and the formulation it produced, see Hughes, 2002.