Reports & Papers

28 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.

Advocacy groups display a thousand signs that read #GetUsPPE, along images of health care workers, in a call for personal protective equipment for frontline health workers during the coronavirus outbreak, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Washington.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Paper

Coronavirus as a Strategic Challenge: Has Washington Misdiagnosed the Problem?

| April 2020

With reservations about venturing into territory outside our normal wheelhouse, and in full certainty that some of what we write here will in retrospect turn out to have been wrong, a team of researchers at the Belfer Center and I have been collecting all the data we have been able to find about coronavirus, analyzing it to the best of our ability, and debating competing answers to the fundamental questions about the challenge this novel virus poses to our nation.

What follows is our current first-approximation of a work in progress. We are posting at this point in the hope of stimulating a wider debate that will include a much larger number of analysts beyond public health professionals and epidemiologists—including in particular intelligence officers, financial wizards, historians, and others.

A Chinese frigate cruises near the Paracel Islands, East of Sansha prefecture, Hainan province, September 14, 2014.

AP Photo/Peng Peng

Report

Winners Announced: Meeting the China Challenge

| January 2020

Since his book, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, was published, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Graham Allison has been searching for ways to escape the structural stress that could inadvertently lead Washington and Beijing to a violent conflict. Convinced that there is no monopoly of strategic wisdom on either side of the Pacific, Professor Allison decided to take a classroom assignment on crafting a grand strategy to meet the China challenge and open it to the public as a case competition. His office received dozens of submissions from across the world.

A Chinese frigate cruises near the Paracel Islands, East of Sansha prefecture, Hainan province, September 14, 2014.

AP Photo/Peng Peng

Report

Contest: Do You Have a Grand Strategy to Meet the China Challenge?

| March 2019

You were hired a month ago as a special assistant to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. When selecting you, he said he wanted someone from outside the system, with fresh eyes, and a capacity for strategic imagination. As he put it in giving you what he called a “modest assignment,” your first project is to help him design a US grand strategy for meeting the China challenge.

A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan.

Photo by David Trilling (c)

Report - Russia Matters

Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?

| Fall 2018

Thousands of radicals from formerly Soviet Central Asia have traveled to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq; hundreds more are in Afghanistan. Not counting the fighting in those three war-torn countries, nationals of Central Asia have been responsible for nearly 100 deaths in terrorist attacks outside their home region in the past five years. But many important aspects of the phenomenon need more in-depth study.

This research paper attempts to answer four basic sets of questions: (1) Is Central Asia becoming a new source of violent extremism that transcends borders, and possibly continents? (2) If so, why? What causes nationals of Central Asia to take up arms and participate in political violence? (3) As IS has been all but defeated in Iraq and Syria, what will Central Asian extremists who have thrown in their lot with the terrorist group do next? And (4) do jihadists from Central Asia aspire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction? If so, how significant a threat do they pose and who would be its likeliest targets?

    Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center

    Education, Research, and Innovation in Africa: Forging Strategic Linkages for Economic Transformation

    | February 2016

    Africa is a youthful continent: nearly 41% of its population is under the age of 18. To address the unique challenges of this demographic structure, the African Union (AU) hopes to reposition the continent as a strategic player in the global economy through improved education and application of science and technology in development. The paper proposes the creation of “Innovation Universities” that combine research, teaching, community service and commercialization in their missions and operations. They would depart from the common practice where teaching is carried out in universities that do little research, and where research is done in national research institutes that do not undertake teaching. Under this model, there is little connection with productive sectors. The idea therefore is not just to create linkages between those activities but to pursue them in a coordinated way under the same university structure. Innovation universities can be created in diverse fields such as agriculture, health, industry, services, and environment to advance sustainable development and inclusive growth.

    Representatives of participating companies sign containers with uranium to be used as fuel for nuclear reactors, prior to loading them aboard Atlantic Navigator ship, in St. Petersburg, Russia, November 14, 2013.

    AP

    Report - National Academies Press

    Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors

    | January 28, 2016

    Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors is a report of the Committee on the Current Status of and Progress Toward Eliminating Highly Enriched Uranium Use in Fuel for Civilian Research and Test Reactors. The committee was established by the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report is the result of a congressionally mandated study (P.L. 112-239, Section 31781) to assess improvement in reducing highly enriched uranium use in fuel for civilian research and test reactors.

     

    Belfer Center Senior Fellow William Tobey is a member of the Committee that produced the report.

    Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Mar. 2015.

    AP

    Report

    Inspections in Iran: What Would Inspectors Need? What Are the Lessons Learned from Iraq?

    | June 3, 2015

    As nuclear negotiations with Iran near their final stage, the question of inspections has come to the fore. If a final agreement is reached, inspections will be a principal means of assuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, either by “breakout” at declared facilities, or by “sneakout” using secret sites. Given the importance being placed on inspections, what type will be necessary?  What inspection and verification regime will be needed to facilitate compliance, detect violations, and ensure effective enforcement?

    Discussion Paper - Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center

    Taking Root: Global Trends in Agricultural Biotechnology

    | January 2015

    Nearly two decades of experience have shown that agricultural biotechnology has the potential to address some of the world’s pressing challenges. Its potential, however, cannot be addressed in isolation. Instead it should be part of a larger effort to expand the technological options needed to address persistent and emerging agricultural challenges.

    The aim of this paper is to review the evidence on global trends in the application of agricultural biotechnology and identify some of their salient benefits. The paper is cognizant that biotechnology alone cannot solve the world’s agricultural challenges. But even though it is not a silver bullet, it should still be included in the package of technological options available to farmers. The evidence available today suggests that public policy should appeal more to pragmatism and less to ideology when seeking solutions to global agricultural challenges.