Reports & Papers

1952 Items

Unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with specialized software and sensors fly during the Technical Concept Experiment at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 19, 2024.

Michael Walls/U.S. Navy

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

Unraveling the Political Dynamics Shaping the U.S. Strategy for Technology Leadership

Although there is broad agreement between the two major parties on the desirability of technology leadership, significant sources of tension—and confusion—persist. By examining the political dynamics that led to the enactment of the CHIPS and Science Act, Constanza M. Vidal Bustamante and Douglass Vijay Calidas probe these tensions and seek to assess their likely impact on the federal technology strategy in the coming years.

footprints in the snow

Adobe Stock/snatalia

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

The Future of Arctic Council Innovation: Charting A Course for Working-Level Cooperation

| Feb. 20, 2024

This report is based on insights from a two-day workshop hosted by the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative in collaboration with the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, the Center for Ocean Governance at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and the Wilson Center's Polar Institute. Participants developed practical recommendations for facilitating working-level cooperation through the Arctic Council and other institutions.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Donte Mathews flies an unmanned aircraft system during a mortar range on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jan. 17, 2023.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Michael Virtue

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

Lift Off: Scaling Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Autonomous Capabilities for the U.S. Department of Defense

| January 2024

In this new era of strategic competition, the Department of Defense (DoD) must rapidly scale emerging and innovative technologies to maintain U.S. global leadership. However, due to its antiquated acquisition systems, the U.S. military risks falling behind its adversaries in delivering cutting-edge and emerging capabilities to warfighters. This report investigates how the DoD can overcome these challenges to more rapidly scale small UAS capabilities.

The US-Mexico border fence with Tijuana, Mexico, on the left, the Pacific Ocean in the background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Josh Denmark

Report - Migration Policy Institute

Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Challenge Decades in the Making

| Jan. 25, 2024

U.S.-Mexico border security has been a central policy matter and divisive political issue in the United States for decades. The U.S. border control enterprise has faced two distinctly different eras of unauthorized migration: The first, from the 1980s through the early 2010s, was addressing overwhelmingly Mexican seasonal adult flows. The current era has been marked first by a rise in arrivals of Central American children and families beginning in 2014, and most recently unprecedented flows of asylum seekers from Latin America and beyond. Earlier strategies that dramatically reduced the levels of illicit border crossings have been no match for the sharply diversified migration patterns of today, with the government struggling to adapt its policy and operational structures.


Palestinians walk past the building destroyed in the Israeli Bombardment of Gaza (AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar)

AP Photo/Mohammed Hajjar

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Overcoming Barriers to Resolving Gaza and Beyond

| Jan. 23, 2024

As of early January 2024, discussion of the Gaza war heavily focuses on its humanitarian costs, cease fire possibilities, hostage prospects, and “day after” options. Yet what longer-term strategy guides actions on these vital issues while offering a more positive vision for Israelis, Palestinians, and key regional players? This paper sketches such a vision and strategy, but far more importantly, highlights the formidable barriers to its realization—and the elements of a realistic path to overcoming those barriers. With old political assumptions jolted by recent events, an opening exists for a new and better regional reality to take shape.

three workers install solar panels on roof of home

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

Financing Building Decarbonization: The Roles of Government and Private Sector Investors

  • Marco Fornara
  • Rushabh Sanghvi
| Jan. 22, 2024

Decarbonizing existing buildings is a key component of greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, but private investors have been slow to finance residential decarbonization projects because of a range of barriers. Authors Chang, Fornara, and Sanghvi argue that green banks could play a major role in unlocking public and private financing for projects that are currently financially unviable. 

A convoy of Israeli army tanks maneuvers near Israel's border after leaving Gaza, southern Israel, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.

AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

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

Lessons from Israel’s Forever Wars

| Jan. 16, 2024

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been engaged in a series of forever wars. After each war, the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet, and others in the intelligence and security community analyze what happened and summarize their findings in after-action, or “lessons learned,” reports. Former leaders from these institutions, many of whom retain close relations with their successors, also produce reports on what happened and identify takeaways for the future. Thus, in trying to make sense of what’s happening now, lessons these experts have distilled from their experiences provide a sound starting point.

Image of Vladimir Putin standing in front of a podium

AP Photo

worker at General Motors assembly plant

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

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

Increasing Manufacturing Capacity to Electrify Passenger Vehicles

| Dec. 19, 2023

The Biden Administration and automotive industry have announced ambitious targets for the number of electric vehicles they hope to deploy by 2030, but automakers are not yet on track to meet those targets.

Ukrainian troops examine the destruction caused by Russian shelling in Toretsk, Donetsk Oblast.

Wikimedia Commons, National Police of Ukraine

Report - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Altered Nuclear Order in the Wake of the Russia-Ukraine War

In this American Academy of Arts and Sciences study, Rebecca Davis Gibbons, Stephen Herzog, Wilfred Wan, and Doreen Horschig unpack the challenges to the global nuclear order posed by the Russian war against Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded nonnuclear-armed Ukraine and leveraged threats with its nuclear arsenal as a “shield” to deter third-party intervention. The well-publicized horrors on the ground in Ukraine are, unfortunately, not the only consequences of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor. The war is having unmistakable effects on how governments, scholars, and the public think about nuclear arms. Not only has Moscow reintroduced the world to the often-unsavory realities of nuclear deterrence, but its suspension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and deratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) have been setbacks for arms control and disarmament. Meanwhile, vulnerable states around the globe may be further incentivized to develop nuclear weapons or seek protection from nuclear-armed patrons to avoid being invaded like Ukraine. Given these changing geopolitical circumstances, how might the Russian war on Ukraine affect the global nuclear order? The authors in this publication conclude that the United States and the broader international community must now more seriously engage with alternatives to traditional arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament endeavors. Specifically, the authors discuss the increasing prominence of approaches such as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)—popularly known as the Nuclear Ban—and risk reduction measures. They assess whether these initiatives can have an impact in reducing nuclear dangers. Additionally, they examine temptations for states to pursue more forceful counterproliferation measures and describe the risks of doing so.