Reports & Papers

17 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?

    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?

    Global diplomats after reaching an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program on November 24, 2013.

    AFP/Getty Images

    Report

    A Final Deal with Iran: Filling the Gaps

    | May 14, 2014

    What would be the consequences if the interim deal became, de facto, permanent?  Does the interim deal have gaps that would be fatal to any long-term arrangement?  What are the consequences if no deal is reached?  And, are such consequences better or worse than those resulting from an extension of the interim deal, or from a deal that fails to meet minimum acceptable standards? These questions, among others, were addressed at a private roundtable discussion hosted by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control on April 25, 2014.

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    Paper

    Russia’s “Black Widows”: Organization Behind Sensation

      Author:
    • Nabi Abdullaev
    | November 8, 2013

    This article analyzes female suicide bombings in Russia in order to prove that suicide terrorism in the largest of the post-Soviet states is an organizational rather than trauma-driven phenomenon.While female suicide bombers have so far used conventional explosives in their attacks, one can imagine how much havoc a suicide terrorist or terrorists could wreak if they got their hands on radioactive materials to make a dirty bomb, or penetrated a nuclear facility to sabotage it.

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

    Transcending Mutual Deterrence in the U.S.-Russian Relationship

    | September 30, 2013

    Even as this paper was being written and edited, U.S.-Russian relations have warmed and chilled. Today, as we are about to go to press, marks a particularly chilly period in recent history, with the cancellation of a planned Moscow Summit in September 2013. To some, this cold spell might signal an inapt moment to consider issues related to transcending mutual deterrence. Such a view would overlook the aims of the paper, which attempts to assess the central and enduring interests of the United States and Russia, the extent to which they coincide or conflict, and whether or not in light of these interests mutual deterrence should remain a fundamental feature of the relationship.