Reports & Papers

17 Items

Office workers using sticky notes on a wall

Adobe Stock

Paper

Human-Centered Policymaking

| April 2020

Human-centered design (HCD) is a complementary discipline that has its roots in industrial design, the discipline that crafts physical products like phones, guitars, and potato peelers. It leverages the qualitative research methods honed in the social sciences—such as ethnography, contextual inquiry, and targeted observations and interviews—to better understand people and interactions. HCD also considers environments, processes, systems, and tools outside of the digital realm. Practitioners often map out customer “journeys” to understand customer experiences across an entire system or ecosystem, not merely a single interface or piece of software. As in agile software development, practitioners of human-centered design iteratively develop solutions to the challenges they uncover, and they rigorously test their solutions with real “users.”

Paper

Data, Not Documents: Modernizing the Regulatory State

| March 2019

This report starts with a brief primer about the federal regulatory process, including how regulatory agencies collect information from businesses and regulated parties. We then explore potential benefits of data collection modernization—including newer models of regulators harvesting openly published data—and highlight the importance of regulators working with regulated parties to design data collection processes that work for both government and the regulated party.

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?

    Report

    Big Data, Meager returns?

    | Nov. 28, 2018

    On October 12th, we brought together specialists, academics and activists to investigate the main points arising from the “Data, Artificial intelligence and the Global South” conversation. The purpose of the workshop was to explore economic fairness and the Global South. This post shares the questions we asked, some of our findings, and what we need to consider next.

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

    2018 State of Digital Transformation

    | October 2018

    On June 12-13, 2018, digital HKS welcomed public sector digital services teams from around the world to share stories of success, talk about lessons learned, and discuss the challenges they face in transforming government. The teams convened all agreed on North Star goals of building platform services and putting users at the center; what remains much more difficult is identifying how teams in very different political and technology contexts should think about how to reach that end-state. In this report, digital HKS shares best practices we gleaned from this group, to start a broader conversation for digital services groups around the world about what comes next.

    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.

    teaser image

    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.