Reports & Papers

1580 Items

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin (right) shake hands on a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS Stennis after touring the aircraft carrier as it sails the South China Sea April 15, 2016.

SMSgt Adrian Cadiz / DoD

Report

Reflections on American Grand Strategy in Asia

| October 2018

To understand how I approached China during my time as Secretary, it’s important to note that I don’t see U.S. strategy in Asia as centered on China at all. I said many times: We don’t have a China policy, we have an Asia policy. The heart of that policy is a mesh of political, diplomatic, economic, and military relationships with many nations that has sustained security and underwritten an extraordinary leap in economic development.

During my time as Secretary, I referred to this structure over and over as the “principled, inclusive network.” Enunciating and reinforcing its strategic and military dimensions in a rapidly changing security environment was my constant priority as Secretary of Defense. Even amid pressing challenges such as the fight against ISIS and the need to confront Russian aggression, no other issue I dealt with had such lasting implications for our national security and prosperity.

My three-word title for this policy was admittedly not very catchy. But my counterparts in the region understood it. They understood that all three words have been essential to its success and will remain essential to its future.

An attendee shoots a photo on a cell phone of Democratic U.S vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine speaking as he appears with Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 23, 2016.

REUTERS/Scott Audette

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Can Democracy Survive in the Information Age?

| October 2018

Democracy is built on the crucial compact that citizens will have access to reliable information and can use that information to participate in government, civic, and corporate decision-making. The technologies of the Information Age were largely built on the assumption that they would strengthen this compact. However, as typified by Russia’s ongoing use of information operations against the United States and Europe, key information technologies have evolved quickly over the past five years and been weaponized against democracies. 

A satellite view of the Gansu Dunhuang Solar Park, a photovoltaic power station under construction in Gansu Provence, as seen on June 9, 2018.

DigitalGlobe, CNES/Airbus, Google Earth, used with permission

Report - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Harvard-Tsinghua Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy

| September 2018

The Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Center for Science, Technology, and Education Policy at Tsinghua University held the fifth annual Tsinghua-Harvard Workshop on Low-Carbon Development and Public Policy. This event brought together leading experts on climate and energy from academic, business, and government communities in both the United States and China. This year’s workshop focused on electricity systems and renewable energy penetration.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Catching Swedish Phish: How Sweden is Protecting its 2018 Elections

    Author:
  • Gabriel Cederberg
| Sep. 07, 2018

Alarmed by Russia’s brazen interference in the 2016 US Election, Sweden began preparing for its September 2018 election in earnest. Over the past year and a half, Sweden has created a comprehensive strategy based on a clear understanding of the threat; it has learned lessons from other targeted elections; and it has developed a whole-of-society defense—mobilizing not just the government, but also the Swedish media and Swedish citizens.

A Tesla Model 3 charges using a Mobile Charger 2.0, 29 July 2017.

Steve Jurvetson

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Charging the Future: Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Vehicle Adoption

| September 2018

Electric vehicles (EVs) have advanced significantly this decade, owing in part to decreasing battery costs. Yet EVs remain more costly than gasoline fueled vehicles over their useful life. This paper analyzes the additional advances that will be needed, if electric vehicles are to significantly penetrate the passenger vehicle fleet.

The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, located in the city of Segovia, Spain.  (Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Collapse of Civilizations

| September 2018

Five causes of collapse appear paramount: major episodes of climate change, crises-induced mass migrations, pandemics, dramatic advances in methods of warfare and transport, and human failings in crises including societal lack of resilience and the madness, incompetence, cultic focus, or ignorance of rulers.

A computer chip, a DNA strand, and a self-driving vehicle

Collage: Adobe Stock / AP

Paper

Shaping Disruptive Technological Change for Public Good

| August 2018

“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”

G20 Dinner

Kay Nietfeld/ Pool Photo via AP

Paper - Cyber Security: A Peer-Reviewed Journal

Normative Restraints on Cyber Conflict

| Aug. 28, 2018

Cyber security is a relatively new international problem. A decade ago, it received little attention as an international issue, but since 2013 the Director of National Intelligence has named cyber security risks as the biggest threat facing the USA. Although the exact numbers can be debated, various non-profit organisations have listed hundreds of state-sponsored attacks by a score of countries in the past decade. Many observers have called for laws and norms to manage the growing cyber threat. In this paper the author outlines the key normative restraints on cyber conflict. The author draws on the development of international norms in recent history to offer insights into the formation of normative restraints in the cyber realm.

A person types on a laptop keyboard in North Andover, Mass, June 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Paper - Cyber Security Project, Belfer Center

(Why) Is There a Public/Private Pay Gap?

| August 2018

The government is facing a severe shortage of skilled workers, especially in information technology and cyber security jobs. The conventional wisdom in branches of policy and public administration is that the shortage is driven by low salaries that are not competitive for attracting top talent. Using longitudinal data on high skilled workers between 1993 and 2013, this paper shows that, if anything, government employees earn more than their private sector counterparts. Although government workers tend to earn less in the raw data, these differences are driven by the correlation between unobserved ability and selection into private sector jobs. These results are robust to additional data from the Census Bureau between 2005 and 2016. Instead, this paper shows that a more plausible culprit behind the worker shortage in government is a lack of development opportunities and poor management.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

An Economic Anatomy of Optimal Climate Policy

| August 2018

The authors introduce geoengineering into an optimal control model of climate economics. Together with mitigation and adaptation, carbon and solar geoengineering span all possible climate policies. Their wildly different characteristics have important implications for policy. They show in the context of their model that: (i) whether emissions are positive or zero the optimal carbon tax always equals the marginal cost of carbon geoengineering; (ii) the introduction of either form of geoengineering leads to higher emissions yet lower temperatures; (iii) in a world with above-optimal cumulative emissions, mitigation alone is insufficient and only a complete set of instruments can minimize climate damages.

This is an updated version of a paper first published in July 2017.