Reports & Papers

4 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.

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Paper

Closing Critical Gaps that Hinder Homeland Security Technology Innovation

| Apr. 23, 2020

Rapid technological advances are making nonstate actors much more capable than they were even a decade ago. Malicious actors like terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and state proxies are increasingly able to threaten American civilians and their interests around the world. At the same time, we are increasingly vulnerable to the emergence of new disease and natural disasters, as vividly shown by the hurricanes of 2017 (Harvey, Irma, and Maria) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effectively countering these threats, including by developing and supporting private sector-generated new technological solutions, is a core government responsibility. DHS is the U.S. government’s primary civilian public safety agency and the main source of government funding for nonmilitary development of public safety technologies. Unfortunately, DHS has a poor record of developing new technological solutions to advance its mission and address emerging threats. This article assesses the current situation, identifies lines of research that are urgently needed, and makes recommendations on how DHS can more effectively partner with industry and how new technologies can be quickly seeded.

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.

Travelers from China’s Wuhan and other cities go through body temperature scanners at Narita international airport in Narita, near Tokyo, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

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

Weaponizing Digital Health Intelligence

| January 2020

This paper argues that these potential vulnerabilities deserve rigorous, urgent, and thorough investigation. First, it draws from cybersecurity literature, and reviews general sources of vulnerability in digital systems. Next, with these sources of vulnerability in mind, it reviews the health intelligence systems used in the US as well as in a current Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It then It then reviews the possible motives state actors have to attack health intelligence systems, drawing on recent examples of state-led efforts to manipulate, conceal, or undermine health information. It then speculates about what an attack on a health intelligence system might look like. It concludes by proposing a research and education agenda to thoroughly interrogate these issues and generate policy recommendations needed to address them.