Reports & Papers

23 Items

Report - Intelligence Project

Report: Marking the CIA’s 75th Anniversary: Reflections on the Past, Visions of the Future

Since its creation in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been at the heart of supporting United States foreign policy and national security decision-making. From the early days of the Cold War to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the CIA has been a critical instrument of foreign intelligence collection, analysis, and operations. However, the CIA is often misunderstood, as its own work and history, particularly its successes, are rarely seen by the public. To help unpack this storied history, and in honor of the agency’s 75th anniversary, on September 16, 2022, former directors, officers, scholars, students, and the public gathered to discuss the past, present, and future of the agency. 

President Truman signs National Security Act Amendments

NARA

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.

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.

Electricians install solar panels.

AP/Mary Altaffer

Report Chapter - Brookings Institution

Mexico’s Energy Reforms: A Blow to Realizing the Most Competitive and Dynamic Region in the World

| Feb. 28, 2022

In late 2017, Mexico made headlines as Italian company Enel bid what was then a world-record low price for renewable energy in the country’s third such energy auction. This development was possible due to the historical and sweeping energy reforms passed with broad support in Mexico in 2013. Then-President Enrique Peña Nieto had succeeded where previous Mexican presidents had failed, reversing decades of resource nationalism and overhauling the energy sector through constitutional reforms that gave the private sector a larger role and advantaged renewable energy in Mexico’s economy. The 2017 auction seemed to indicate Mexico’s bright future not only as a conventional oil producer, but also as a clean energy power.

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Report - Intelligence Project

Report: Climate Change, Intelligence, and Global Security

This report is derived from a half-day conference in April 2021 co-sponsored by the Intelligence Project and the Environment and Natural Resources Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, along with the Center for Climate and Security and The Cipher Brief. It explores the requirements of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) to fulfill the mission prescribed by President Biden, DNI Haines, and Secretary Kerry. The IC must rise to challenge, unshackled from the past, to re-imagine its role in combatting climate change. The IC has talked the talk about climate change, and now it needs to walk the walk. The stakes are too high not to do so.

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.

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.