Reports & Papers

5 Items

Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci

AP/Alex Brandon

Paper - Centre for International Governance Innovation

US Intelligence, the Coronavirus and the Age of Globalized Challenges

| Aug. 24, 2020

This essay makes three arguments. First, the US government will need to establish a coronavirus commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to determine why, since April 2020, the United States has suffered more coronavirus fatalities than any other country in the world. Second, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a watershed for what will be a major national security theme this century: biological threats, both from naturally occurring pathogens and from synthesized biology. Third, intelligence about globalized challenges, such as pandemics, needs to be dramatically reconceptualized, stripping away outmoded levels of secrecy.

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

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

Falling Short: A Reality Check for Global LNG Exports

| December 19, 2014

In 2012, when many energy experts argued that oil production had peaked, Leonardo Maugeri published “Oil: The Next Revolution,” which forecast a glut of oil and collapsing prices in the next several years. His prediction proved prescient. Now, as analysts look past today’s oil-market drama to a near future of robust liquefied natural gas exports, Maugeri is again challenging conventional wisdom. The long-hoped-for and hyped-up gas market, he concludes, will disappoint.

“Falling Short: A Reality Check for Global LNG Exports” details the new findings by Maugeri, a former oil industry executive who is now an associate with the Geopolitics of Energy project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon

AP Images

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

The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon

| June 2013

A study just released by Belfer Center researcher Leonardo Maugeri finds that the shale oil revolution taking place in the United States could result in the tripling of shale oil output to five million barrels a day by 2017, likely making the U.S. the top oil producer in the world in just a few years. The study by Maugeri, a Roy Family Fellow working with the Belfer Center's Geopolitics of Energy project, looked at whether the surge in shale oil production is just a temporary bubble or an event capable of significantly altering the U.S.—and possibly global—energy outlook.

An oil pump jack in Santa Maria, California, a three-story humming contraption struck residents as a mere curiosity until someone uttered the petroleum industry's dirty word: fracking.

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Discussion Paper

North American Oil and Gas Reserves: Prospects and Policy

| July 2012

Expanding estimates of North America’s supply of accessible shale gas, and more recently, shale oil, have been trumpeted in many circles as the most significant energy resource development since the oil boom in Texas in the late 1920s. How large are these resources? What challenges will need to be overcome if their potential is to be realized? How will they impact U.S. energy policy?

To address these questions, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and two of its programs ― the Environment and Natural Resources Program and the Geopolitics of Energy Project ― convened a group of experts from business, government, and academia on May 1, 2012, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The following report summarizes the major issues discussed at this workshop. Since the discussions were off-the-record, no comments are attributed to any individual. Rather, this report attempts to summarize the arguments on all sides of the issues.