Reports & Papers

103 Items

Voters mark their ballots during early voting at the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Report - Defending Digital Democracy

Beyond 2020: Policy Recommendations for the Future of Election Security

February 2021

The 2020 election presents a paradox. Despite dramatic changes to the election process due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly complex threats since the 2016 election, 2020 is widely regarded as “the most secure [election] in American history.” Operationally, it was also one of the smoothest. State and local election officials overcame unprecedented challenges and scarce resources to administer an election with fewer incidents of cyber compromises, technical failures or long lines than anticipated. After Election Day, recount procedures functioned as designed. Yet, amidst these successes, officials from both parties faced a barrage of mis- and disinformation about the election process that served to undermine confidence in the result.

Though the election security ecosystem survived the triple threat of cybersecurity, physical security, and mis- and disinformation in 2020, this success will prove to be hard to replicate in future election cycles without proper investment and reinforcement.

man takes a rapid COVID-19 test

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Report - Technology and Public Purpose

Building a 21st-century American Economy

| November 2020

As the world confronts systematic, interrelated challenges from a raging pandemic to devastating climate catastrophes to a growing chasm of inequality, the United States has the opportunity to make deep commitments to new technological foundations that will usher in the next industrial revolution and greater shared prosperity. Or, we can continue along a business-as-usual path, ceding global leadership and the associated economic value creation elsewhere.

Social Distancing in Trader Joe's parking lot

Wikimedia CC/Strmsrg

Report - opcast.org

Epidemiological Modeling Needs New, Coherent, Federal Support for the Post-COVID-19 Era

    Authors:
  • Christine Cassel
  • Christopher Chyba
  • Susan Graham
  • Richard C. Levin
  • Ed Penhoet
  • William Press
  • Maxine Savitz
  • Harold Varmus
| Sep. 28, 2020

Epidemiological modeling is an important but under-supported field of science that lacks a clear home among the federal science-funding agencies. Additional basic research and translational work in the field is needed between pandemics, and greater operational capabilities are needed during epidemics. The authors of this report have identified here a series of actions that can strengthen modeling efforts and their operationalization, to make the country better prepared for the next pandemic.

A staff member in the Kweisi Mfume campaign uses gloves while holding a cell phone during an election night news conference at his campaign headquarters after Mfume, a Democrat, won Maryland’s 7th Congressional District special election, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Baltimore.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 1

| September 2020

Influence Operations (IO), also known as Information Operations, are a series of warfare tactics historically used to collect information, influence, or disrupt the decision making of an adversary. IO strategies intentionally disseminate information to manipulate public opinion and/or influence behavior. IO can involve a number of tactics, including spreading false information intentionally. This is known as “disinformation.”   

Skilled influence operations often deliberately spread disinformation in highly public places like social media. This is done in the hope that people who have no connection to the operation will mistakenly share this disinformation. Inaccurate information spread in error without malicious intent is known as “misinformation.” 

This playbook explores mis- and disinformation incidents that specifically focus on elections operations and infrastructure. Election officials may not often see or know what the motivation is behind the incidents encountered or whether they are mis- or disinformation. Throughout these guides we refer to mis/disinformation incidents together, as the strategies for countering or responding to them are the same.  

Voters wait in a line outside Broad Ripple High School to vote in the Indiana primary in Indianapolis, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 after coronavirus concerns prompted officials to delay the primary from its original May 5 date.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Report

The Election Influence Operations Playbook, Part 2

| September 2020

This section of the Playbook includes recommendations and materials focused on the response process. It will help election officials respond to election-related mis and disinformation incidents quickly and in a coordinated fashion. 

In this playbook, we refer to mis/disinformation throughout as one concept. Instances of both misinformation and disinformation in the elections process provide incorrect information to voters. Incorrect information can be conveyed intentionally or unintentionally. For election officials, any incorrect information, regardless of source or intention, presented to voters can pose a threat to elections, because it can undermine voters’ understanding of and trust in the election.

COVID-19 Testing Site

Wikimedia CC/Prim8acs

Report - opcast.org

Testing for the Pathogen During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Future Ones

    Authors:
  • Christine Cassel
  • Christopher Chyba
  • Susan Graham
  • Richard C. Levin
  • Ed Penhoet
  • William Press
  • Maxine Savitz
  • Harold Varmus
| Aug. 18, 2020

The United States has failed to deploy adequate testing for the presence of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been unable to avoid continued spread of the virus. In this report, the authors explain why such testing is an essential factor in efforts to control the pandemic, why adequate testing has been difficult to achieve, and why the United States has not met the challenge. They conclude by recommending ways to provide more extensive testing in this and future epidemics.

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

In this April 22, 2020 photo, Gerard Bakulikira, right, and captain Tim Daghelet, left, both wear a Romware COVID Radius digital bracelet, which flashes red when people are too close to each other and creates a log of contacts. 

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

Paper

Considerations for Digital Contact Tracing Tools for COVID-19 Mitigation: Recommendations for Stakeholders and Policymakers

Many are looking to digital contact tracing to assist reopening efforts, especially in light of reports that the U.S. could expect as many as 100,000 more deaths due to the virus by this Fall. This report focuses on how the U.S. might consider various proposed solutions.

We believe there are real benefits, challenges, and even potential harms in using digital solutions in the fight against COVID-19, but we must also acknowledge that the promise of any technology and associated systems to assist manual contact tracing efforts is largely hypothetical in the United States. There is not one catch-all answer; the truth is that technology is not a panacea, but it may be able to assist official efforts at an unprecedented time. However, no technological solution can succeed without two specific factors: public trust and buy-in, and rapid, widespread testing for everyone living in the U.S. To achieve the first, a number of factors must be addressed by officials in the states looking to implement digital solutions, and by technology developers.