275 Events


Information Session - Harvard Students

Careers in the U.S. Intelligence Community: Session for Students

Tue., Oct. 25, 2022 | 5:30pm - 6:30pm

One Brattle Square - Room 401

Interested in a future career in intelligence? Curious about what it's like to work at the cross-section of various government agencies, the public sector, and the private/non-profit sector? Join the Intelligence Project and hear from former and current US intelligence practitioners in this session for Harvard students. They will be speaking about their experiences in the field, what to expect when entering the Intelligence Community workforce, and how to break in. Students are welcome to ask questions.

This in-person session will take place on Tuesday, October 25th in One Brattle Square, Room 401 at 5:30PM. The event is open to the first 40 Harvard students to sign up. RSVP is required by October 21st. Food will be provided.

President Kennedy standing with military officials in front of nuclear weapons

Public Use

Conference - Open to the Public

Cuban Missile Crisis at 60: Lessons of the Past and Relevance for the Present

Fri., Oct. 14, 2022 | 8:30am - 5:00pm

Barker Center - Thompson Room

The Project on Managing the Atom, the Applied History Project, and the Intelligence Project-alongside the entire Belfer Center community-invite everyone to attend a full-day conference (either in-person for members of the Harvard community or virtually via a Zoom Webinar for anyone interested) discussing the implications of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 continues to stand as the single most dangerous event of the nuclear age, when the world came closer than ever before or since to the prospect of nuclear annihilation. Scholars and analysts continue to revisit the CMC to learn its lessons in order to try and avoid nuclear dangers in the future. A number of recent accounts have shed new light on the various aspects of and incidents within the CMC, providing us with a better understanding of the dynamics of the crises. As the world marks 60 years since those fateful events, the risk of nuclear conflagration is once again on the rise. Russia, a major nuclear power, is waging a war against Ukraine, a state supported by the United States and NATO, a nuclear-armed alliance. What were the most dangerous moments of the CMC? What contributed to and what ameliorated the risks of a nuclear conflagration? What can we learn from the CMC that is pertinent for preventing a conventional war in Ukraine from crossing the nuclear threshold? MTA brings together historians and political scientists to discuss the state of the art of history and politics of the Cuban Missile Crisis and gauge its relevance for the war in Ukraine and for future crises and conflicts. 

This is a hybrid event. Members of the Harvard community are welcome to register for in-person attendance at the Thompson Room in the Barker Center. Members of the public are invited to attend virtually, in a Zoom webinar. Registration for bother is below. Following the registration links is the schedule and list of speakers.

In-person Registration (Click Here)                    Zoom Registration (Click Here)



8:30a – 8:45a        Arrival and registration
8:45a – 9:00a        Welcome by Ash Carter 
9:00a – 10:30a        Panel 1. Rethinking Lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis 

           Moderator/discussant: Tom Blanton 
            Svetlana Savranskaya, National Security Archive 
            Fred Logevall, Harvard Kennedy School 
            Frank Gavin, Johns Hopkins SAIS 
            Graham Allison, Harvard Kennedy School 

10:30a-10:45a        Coffee break
10:45a-12:15p    Panel 2. (Mis)Perceptions, Intelligence, and Technology in the CMC

           Moderator: Maria Robson-Morrow, HKS Belfer
            Calder Walton, Applied History Project, HKS Belfer 
            Phillip Zelikow, Miller Center, UVA 
            Timothy Naftali, New York University 
            Christopher Andrew, University of Cambridge 

12:15p – 1:30p    Lunch 

            Address by General Viktor Yesin  and Amb. Linton Brooks 

1:30p – 2:30p        Panel 3. Most Dangerous Moments of the Cuban Missile Crisis

           Discussant: Francesca Giovannini
           Matthew Bunn, HKS
           Mariana Budjeryn, HKS

2:30p - 2:45p        Coffee break
2:45p – 4:15p        Panel 4. CMC’s Long Shadow: Consequences for Today

           Moderator/discussant: Mariana Budjeryn, MTA
           Rose McDermott, Brown University 
           Sarah Bidgood, CNS Monterey 
           Scott Sagan, Stanford University 
           Benoît Pelopidas, Sciences Po. 

4:15p – 4:30p        Concluding remarks. William Perry, Stanford
4:30p - 6:00p        Reception

Seminar - Open to the Public

True or False: The Battle Against Disinformation

Wed., Sep. 28, 2022 | 12:00pm - 1:15pm

Taubman Building - Nye A, 5th Floor

Join us on September 28th at 12:00PM as we welcome the Honorable Ellen E. McCarthy to Harvard Kennedy School for a discussion on disinformation and truth in media as part of our latest Intelligence Seminar. In the world of information warfare, combating disinformation requires a joint strategy guiding a wide range of actors, including academia, tech companies, non profits, and entertainment, working together. This conversation will touch on recent work done by Truth in Media, a new initiative to distill fact from fiction in an increasingly challenging world of misinformation and disinformation.

Hon. Ellen McCarthy is the Chairwoman and CEO of the Truth in Media Cooperative and Noodle Labs. She has over three decades of national security service in a variety of leadership roles that span numerous intelligence organizations and disciplines, most recently as the lead of one of the U.S. Intelligence Community's 18 agencies. As the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, she reported to the Secretary of State and led a team that provided intelligence support for foreign policy purposes.

The discussion will be moderated by Lauren Zabierek, Belfer Center Executive Director and Maria Robson-Morrow, Program Manager for the Intelligence Project. This hybrid event is on the record and the virtual option is open to the public. The in-person option is open only to Harvard students, staff, faculty and fellows. Registration is required. Please note that in person registration is via the Zoom link; please select the in person option.

Food will be provided at the event.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Explaining Putin: The Man Behind War in Ukraine

Wed., Sep. 21, 2022 | 2:00pm - 3:15pm


With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now in its seventh month and Russian forces in surprising retreat, the question still remains of how history, geography, and personality led to the largest conflict in Europe since 1945 – one that might be entering a more dangerous phase. How did we get here, did it have to happen, how might it be resolved, and with what consequences? 

Join us for a fascinating discussion with Philip Short, author of the recently published biography Putin, which draws on deep research to reveal the man behind the invasion of Ukraine who has dragged Russia back to a dark past. In light of the setbacks Russia has suffered in the face of stubborn Ukrainian resistance, signs of growing discontent at home, and an economy facing long term debilitation, might an alternate title be Putin - A Comeuppance Long in the Making?

Philip Short’s career has included serving as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, Beijing, and Washington, D.C., for the BBC, the Economist, and the Times of London. He is the author of definitive biographies on Mao, Pol Pot, and Francois Mitterand.

This virtual event is on the record and is open to the public. Paul Kolbe, Intelligence Project Director, will moderate this session. Registration is required. Please register at: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_01XhTi02SCKT-LriTCcLEQ.

Seminar - Harvard Faculty, Fellows, Staff, and Students

The Gulf and a World in Transition: A Conversation with Bahraini Ambassador to the US Shaikh Abdulla Rashed Al Khalifa

Mon., Sep. 19, 2022 | 9:00am - 10:00am

Littauer Building - Malkin Penthouse, 4th Floor

On Monday, September 19, the Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project will host a conversation with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Shaikh Abdulla Rashed Al Khalifa, on Monday, September 19. His Excellency will address current diplomatic priorities for the Kingdom of Bahrain and will provide a perspective on the most significant security challenges faced by Bahrain, in the context of the continuing COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The conversation will be moderated by Director of the Intelligence Project, Paul Kolbe.

This event will be be on the record. It is for Harvard students, fellows and faculty and is not open to the public. Registration is capped at 50.

**Registration Closed**


Conference - Open to the Public

Marking the CIA’s 75th Anniversary: Reflections on the Past, Visions of the Future

Fri., Sep. 16, 2022 | 8:00am - 5:00pm

The Charles Hotel

*In-person registration closed*

This year, the Central Intelligence Agency celebrates its 75th birthday. From the early days of the cold war and through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, fall of the Soviet Union, 9/11 and the War on Terror, and the surging threats of the 21st century, the CIA has been at the center of US foreign policy and national security decision making. Stunning operational and analytic success has been interwoven with consequential failures and scandal.

On Friday, September 16, please join an illustrious group of intelligence authors, scholars, and retired high-ranking practitioners to discuss the past 75 years of the agency, including both well-known and little-known aspects of the agency's evolution and its current activities to further the nation's national security. The conference program and speaker bios are below.

This full-day conference, hosted by the Belfer Center's Intelligence Project, will take place at the Charles Hotel.

All participants are welcome to attend via Zoom. In-person registration is now closed. Registration is open to the public and is required. Please register via https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ncjpkgdrTpi10jxWSUadRg.

Conference - Open to the Public

Imagining a New National Security Act for the 21st Century

Wed., May 11, 2022 | 10:00am - 3:00pm

Belfer Building - Starr Auditorium, Floor 2.5

Imagine if you woke up tomorrow to news of:

  • A massive cyber-attack that irreparably damaged financial markets and shut down critical infrastructure, or
  • A significant conventional defeat due to strategic surprise like happened at Pearl Harbor, or
  • The release of a manufactured pathogen that marks the beginning of a new global pandemic.

Please join the Intelligence and Applied History Projects at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, for a day of thoughtful discussion about the top challenges facing the existing intelligence and national security mechanisms in the United States, and possible mitigation strategies to ensure that the U.S. has the people, structure, systems, integration, legal authority, and partnerships needed to protect national interests in the years ahead. Panelists include intelligence historians Dr. Sara Castro, Dr. Michael Warner, and Dr. James Wirtz, and former intelligence practitioners Sue Gordon and Ellen McCarthy. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will provide a keynote address. At the conference, we will showcase the winners of our essay competition: A New National Security Act for the 21st Century.

This event will take place in hybrid format under Chatham House Rules. Registration is required. Harvard community members are welcome to attend in person. Please register for the event here: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_U_wuab28R0y1NnLQtIqylg.


Seminar - Open to the Public

The Past, Present, and Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the American Intelligence Community

Wed., Apr. 13, 2022 | 12:00pm - 2:00pm


Please join the Intelligence Project for a discussion on the history of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the U.S. intelligence community (IC). This session will discuss the findings of a forthcoming paper on the history of publicly known IC initiatives, studies, and policies alongside observations from current and former intelligence officials, academics, and senior military officers. In over seven decades of study after study, the U.S. Intelligence Community has identified a lack of diversity in the workforce as a problem. Beginning with a 1953 CIA report on women in the Agency, tellingly titled “The Petticoat Panel,” agencies have documented a lack of presence and opportunity for women, minorities, and other groups including people with disabilities. The paper reviews efforts of what has been done, what has succeeded, and what has failed. Together we will unpack why progress has been slow and underscore lessons from the past that can inform future approaches to reinforce America’s intelligence posture and meet challenging requirements.

The session will feature a discussion with Intelligence Project Fellow Jeff Fields from the FBI, and with experienced former intelligence officials Natalie Colbert, Belfer Center Executive Director; Kristin Wood, Intelligence Project Fellow, and Lori Roule, senior executive at Transparent Language.
It will be moderated by the report's authors: Dr. Michael Miner, Associate Fellow with the Intelligence Project, and Lindsay Temes, former military officer with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

This virtual event is open to the public and registration is required.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Rebooting America: A Conversation with Former Member of Congress Will Hurd

Thu., Apr. 7, 2022 | 10:00am - 11:15am

Taubman Building - Allison Dining Room, 5th Floor

*Please note the room change for in-person attendees.*

“It is getting harder to get big things done in America.  To meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, our country needs a reset.” - American Reboot

Join the Intelligence and Cyber Projects in conversation with former Congressman Will Hurd. Mr. Will Hurd is currently a managing director at Allen & Company and former member of Congress, cybersecurity executive, and undercover officer in the CIA. In his forthcoming book, American Reboot, he tackles five challenges facing the United States: the need for a principled vision from the Republican Party; what he sees as a lack of honest leadership in Washington, DC; income inequality threatening the livelihood of millions of Americans; the lack of a guarantee of continued U.S. economic and military dominance; and the immense scope of impending technological change in the next thirty years. In this candid discussion, we aim to drive at the very specific cyber and intelligence challenges our nation is facing right now, and how we can address them. The discussion will be moderated by Lauren Zabierek, Executive Director of the Cyber Project, and Paul Kolbe, Director of the Intelligence Project. This hybrid event is on the record and the virtual option is open to the public. The in-person option is open only to Harvard affiliates. Registration is required.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa

Republic of Slovenia

Seminar - Open to the Public

How Europe is Supporting Ukraine: A Conversation with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa

Wed., Apr. 6, 2022 | 10:30am - 11:30am


As Ukraine continues its resistance against Russia’s bloody invasion, bearing a terrible price in lives and destruction, the support of Europe grows more critical. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has been at the forefront of rallying Europe to the aid of Ukraine. Janša, along with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, traveled to Kyiv on March 15 to meet with President Zelensky in a concrete manifestation of support, and to highlight the crisis facing not just Ukraine, but the entire community of liberal democracies.
Please join the Intelligence Project at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs for a conversation on Ukraine with Prime Minister Jansa. The conversation will include the prime minister’s perspectives on the conflict, a read out on his meeting with President Zelensky, prospects of a negotiated settlement, and discussion of the implications for Europe, NATO and Ukraine going forward.

The webinar discussion will be moderated by Intelligence Project Director Paul Kolbe and will be under the Chatham House Rule: “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” The session is open to the public.