129 Items

President Truman signs National Security Act Amendments


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

Imagining a New U.S. National Security Act for the 21st Century: Winning Essays

July 19, 2022

The Intelligence and Applied History Projects hosted a National Security Act Essay Contest in 2022 entitled: “Imagining a New National Security Act for the 21st Century.” The contest sought to generate new ideas for improving the intelligence and national security community in the US based on the dynamic security environment we face in the 21st century. The essay prompt offered a variety of hypothetical scenarios where intelligence failure contributed to catastrophic failure and posed the question: what you would change now to improve the intelligence and national security posture of the US?

The winning essays, from a field of approximately 75 applicants, were authored by (1) Russell Travers, (2) Sophie Faaborg-Andersen, and (3) Marie Couture and Laurie LaPorte. The authors' winning essays appear in this report.

Hijacked airliner headed toward World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001

REUTERS/Sean Adair

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

Countering Terrorism With "Blue Sky" Thinking

| May 19, 2022

In the past, strategic surprise has often stemmed from a failure of imagination. Most intelligence failures are rooted in a lack of foresight or early warning of impending events. Blue sky thinking seeks to prevent these surprises by devoting more attention not just to known risks and likely scenarios, but also to low probability, high impact events. In an unprecedented step in forging ongoing global collaboration, 129 global experts gathered in Amman, Jordan, in December 2021. The conference was held under the auspices of Jordan’s Aqaba Process and facilitated by representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project. Attendees included intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers, private sector practitioners, and academics representing 29 countries, 5 continents, and 68 government and private sector organizations. Through presentations and discussion under Chatham House Rules, the conference facilitated an open exchange of ideas on the possible next big threats from terrorism and on strategies for moving forward.

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Analysis & Opinions

Former Moscow chief of station Rolf Mowatt-Larssen on the state of play in Ukraine - "Intelligence Matters"

| May 18, 2022

In this episode of "Intelligence Matters," host Michael Morell speaks with former senior CIA operations officer and Moscow station chief Rolf Mowatt-Larssen about the likely trajectory of the war in Ukraine, including the possibility of a negotiated peace — or dangerous escalation. Mowatt-Larssen offers insights on Putin's options, potential rifts among his intelligence agencies, and persistent rumors about the Russian leader's health. Morell and Mowatt-Larssen also discuss Western involvement in the conflict and the lingering potential for the Kremlin to use weapons of mass destruction. 

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Analysis & Opinions

Private Sector Intelligence: On the Long Path of Professionalization

| May 18, 2022

The field of private sector intelligence can often be misinterpreted on the surface level as espionage, guards and gates. Its road to professionalization has been a long one and is still evolving. Maria Robson Morrow spoke with Fred Burton on the Ontic Protective Intelligence podcast on her dissertation research on building a better understanding of private sector intelligence's role in security risk mitigation and business decision-making. The conversation touches on her latest research on pathways to entry, the impact of intelligence cooperation, and camaraderie in mitigating security risks. The author also shares what surprised her most in her research and what she plans on digging into next.

Photo of President Harry Truman meeting with members of the National Security Council and other advisers Jan. 24, 1952 for review of the defense situation.

(AP Photo/Henry Griffin)

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

Imagining a New National Security Act

| Spring 2022

If you woke up to news of a massive cyber or Pearl Harbor-type attack on the U.S., you would want to know that a solid national security structure and plan was in place. On May 11, the Intelligence Project and Applied History Project hosted a conference to imagine a new National Security Act to replace the current act of 1947.

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Analysis & Opinions

Intel community weighs role of open source intelligence amid Ukraine conflict

| Apr. 21, 2022

Intelligence agencies have struggled to define how open source intelligence fits into its broader work, but the wide breadth of publicly available information about the Ukraine conflict, combined with proactive disclosures of classified information, are providing some clarity about OSINT’s role. Lauren Zabierek and Maria Robson Morrow spoke with the Federal News Network on how the public and private sectors are leveraging open source intelligence, including challenges and opportunities.

A large CIA seal to the right of an American flag on a flagpole topped with a gold eagle finial.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

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

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

| Apr. 13, 2022

In more than seven decades of study after study, the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) has identified a lack of diversity in the workforce as a problem. Beginning with a 1953 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report on women in the agency, tellingly titled “The Petticoat Panel,” organizations have documented a lack of presence and opportunity for women, minorities, and other groups including people with disabilities. Recommendations and actions were repeated over the years with marginal results. This paper reviews efforts of what has been done, what has succeeded, and what has failed as an important starting point for building a robust intelligence workforce for the latter half of the twenty-first century. It then offers recommendations for overcoming systemic challenges and fostering culture change to improve diversity across the community.

Private sector professionals

Charles Forerunner (Unsplash)

Journal Article - Intelligence and National Security

Private sector intelligence: on the long path of professionalization

| Mar. 20, 2022

Private sector intelligence is on its way to professionalization, but the road is a long one and the destination is uncertain. Studies of intelligence professionalization have not yet systematically analyzed private sector intelligence, a field that focuses on mitigating geopolitical and security risk and supporting decision-making. In this article, Maria Robson Morrow draws on years of empirical research of private sector intelligence with reference to five key pillars of professionalization: a shared identity, knowledge advancement, training and education, a code of ethics, and certification. She concludes with implications for professionalizing private sector intelligence and proposes further research on this understudied field.

Combat crews of the S-400 air defense system take up combat duty at the training ground during Russia-Belarus military drills in Belarus.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Wall Street Journal

Turkey’s Russian Missiles Could Defend Ukraine

| Mar. 17, 2022

Ukraine needs antiaircraft weapons, and Turkey has one it should get rid of—a Russian-made S-400 system it bought four years ago that triggered an enormous backlash from the U.S., which stopped selling F-35 fighter jets to Ankara in response. How about a triple play? The U.S. helps Turkey send its S-400 to Ukraine to defend against Russian warplanes, offers the Turks a nice new American replacement, and gets F-35 shipments back on track. This would also help repair the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey in the face of Russian aggression.