Reports & Papers

11 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.

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.

Paper

The Culture of Strategic Thought Behind Russia’s Modern Approaches to Warfare

    Author:
  • Stephen R. Covington
| October 2016

In September of 1991, I met with Russian general officers in Minsk at a military reform seminar. Our discussions took place against the backdrop of the August coup attempt in Moscow, the subsequent collapse of Soviet power, and the so-called parade of sovereignty by former Soviet Republics. At the same time, President Yeltsin was signaling his intent to change dramatically the national security strategy, military doctrine, and military system the Soviet Union had developed since the 1940s.

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

The Meaning of Russia's Campaign in Syria

    Author:
  • Stephen R. Covington
| December 9, 2015

Stephen Covington explains the strategic and tactical reasons for Russia’s deployment to Syria and helps the reader see the world through the eyes of President Putin and his advisors. Together with his earlier paper, “Putin’s Choice for Russia,” published with the Belfer Center in August 2015, this paper provides the reader with the strategic threads that run through contemporary Russian geopolitics. His insights into Russian strategic thinking are based on years of study and practical experience with the Russian military and, his opinion matters as a person who advises NATO’s senior military leaders on Alliance security anddefense matters.

(From Foreword by BG Kevin Ryan (U.S. Army retired), Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects)