Reports & Papers

65 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.

Russian National Guard soldiers operate a surveillance drone in Losiny Ostrov national park in northeastern Moscow, Sunday, May 3, 2020.

Sergey Vedyashkin, MTI via AP

Paper

Public Policy Roles for Drones During the COVID-19 Crisis

| June 2020

As business leaders and public officials plan their response, they struggle to identify the proper role for emerging technologies. One of these is drones, a technology that got its start in military and security programs but over the last decade has increasingly been repurposed for civilian and commercial uses.

A worker updates a database tracking hospital bed occupancy, data which feeds the city’s public app showing which hospitals in Mexico’s hard-hit capital still have space to accept COVID-19 patients, in the C5 emergency operations center in Mexico City, Friday, May 15, 2020.

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Paper

If there was ever a time for data science, this is it.

    Author:
  • John Wigle
| May 2020

It is said that operations research was a decisive factor contributing to the allied victory in World War II. General Doolittle expressed his appreciation for operations analysts, the data scientists of his time, saying they made “substantial contributions toward the success of the Eighth Air Force.” General Carl Spaatz expressed his appreciation for his data scientists during the war, describing them as essential, and prophetically stated, “[w]e all hope that no similar national crisis will arise in the future...  [i]f that time ever comes we shall call upon you again as we called on you before.”  I believe that time of national crisis has arrived.

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 MEP walks in the mostly-vacant Plenary chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Paper

Transatlantic Dialogue: The Missing Link in Europe’s Post-Covid-19 Green Deal?

| April 2020

This policy brief emphasizes that the European Green Deal's effectiveness in a post Covid-19 world will require the involvement of strategic partners, especially the US. In the context of a potential US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the consequential vacuum, it will be even more important to engage the US in implementing the GD. In light of divergence between the US and the EU during past climate negotiations (e.g. Kyoto, Copenhagen, and Paris), we suggest a gradual approach to US engagement with GD initiatives and objectives.

One of the parabolic mirrors arrays at the Shams-1 concentrated solar power plant in the UAE, January 2015.

IRENA photo, CC by-nc-sa 2.0

Report

Green Ambitions, Brown Realities: Making Sense of Renewable Investment Strategies in the Gulf

| March 2020

Gulf countries have hailed their investments in renewable energy, but some basic questions remain about the extent to which it makes sense for GCC states to invest aggressively in renewables. The sheer magnitude of such investments will require these countries to mobilize significant public resources.  Therefore, such an assessment requires these countries to focus on national interests, not just a desire to be perceived as constructive participants in the global transition away from carbon energy. 

This report starts by identifying four common strategic justifications for investing in renewable energy in GCC countries. Each of these rationales highlights a different aspect of renewable energy investments. In addition, each rationale is based on different assumptions about the underlying drivers of such investments, and each rationale is based on different assumptions about the future of energy. 
 

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.

From left, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Robert Ashley, with (not pictured) FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

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

The U.S. Intelligence Enterprise and the Role of Privatizing Intelligence

    Author:
  • Sunny Jiten Singh
| September 2019

The purpose of the paper is not to suggest that outsourcing has no place in the role of government; to the contrary, the paper argues the elements of these two spheres have morphed into this modern strand of DNA which cannot be undone but to the point, DNA functions within the confines of the right environment as should outsourcing under straightforward regulation. The privatization of intelligence cannot be allowed to function in a vacuum and inadequate oversight must be called out to avoid further exploitation by industry.

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.

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.