International Security & Defense

956 Items

Image of Vladimir Putin standing in front of a podium

AP Photo

President Joe Biden delivers remarks about government regulations on artificial intelligence systems during an event in the East Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, in Washington.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Policy Brief

Action on AI: Unpacking the Executive Order’s Security Implications and the Road Ahead

| Nov. 08, 2023

On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued the Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, aimed at realizing the benefits of AI, while mitigating critical risks. This article provides an overview of its key national security initiatives and explores issues relevant to implementation

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Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armoured vehicle as they drive on a road between Izium and Lyman in Ukraine, Tuesday Oct. 4, 2022.

AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Ukraine’s Defense: A Whole-of-Society Effort Demanding Additional Support

| Oct. 13, 2023

For Ukraine to maintain its defense and decisively thwart Russia’s invasion, it will take steadfast commitments from Western allies providing both state-of-the-art equipment and basic warfighting needs, local industry leaders and factory workers readying equipment for the frontlines and developing innovative technologies, and civilian volunteers tirelessly filling in the remaining gaps.

Flowers bloom around graves of World War I soldiers prior to a foundation laying ceremony at Loos British Cemetery in Loos-en-Gohelle, France, Thursday, May 4, 2023.

AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Peril of Peaking Powers: Economic Slowdowns and Implications for China’s Next Decade

| Summer 2023

Peaking great powers facing a slowdown in growth are likely to try to violently shake up the world. These findings amend classic theories of great power conflict. They help explain some of the most consequential geopolitical events in modern history. And they have ominous implications for contemporary Chinese foreign policy. 

In this Aug. 20, 2017 file photo, U.S. Army soldiers stands next to a guided-missile launcher, a few miles from the frontline, in the village of Abu Ghaddur, east of Tal Afar, Iraq. American troops have started to draw down from Iraq following Baghdad’s declaration of victory over the Islamic State group last year, according to western contractors at a U.S.-led coalition base in Iraq.

AP Photo/Balint Szlanko

Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

Why Security Assistance Often Fails

    Author:
  • Rachel Tecott Metz
| Apr. 23, 2023

Around the world, the United States relies heavily on security assistance to gain influence and make its allies more formidable. When actual war breaks out, however, many long-time recipients of such assistance fight poorly or otherwise do not seem to have heeded the lessons that U.S. trainers tried to impart. The Naval War College’s Rachel Tecott Metz examines this track record, arguing that the United States relies too much on teaching and persuasion and should instead emphasize conditionality more. 

Report - Intelligence Project

Report: Marking the CIA’s 75th Anniversary: Reflections on the Past, Visions of the Future

Since its creation in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been at the heart of supporting United States foreign policy and national security decision-making. From the early days of the Cold War to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the CIA has been a critical instrument of foreign intelligence collection, analysis, and operations. However, the CIA is often misunderstood, as its own work and history, particularly its successes, are rarely seen by the public. To help unpack this storied history, and in honor of the agency’s 75th anniversary, on September 16, 2022, former directors, officers, scholars, students, and the public gathered to discuss the past, present, and future of the agency. 

A security guard stands near a sculpture of the Chinese Communist Party flag at the Museum of the Communist Party of China on May 26, 2022, in Beijing.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Strategic Substitution: China’s Search for Coercive Leverage in the Information Age

    Author:
  • Fiona Cunningham
| Summer 2022

After the mistaken U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999, China turned to information-age weapons to create a risk of escalation to nuclear war with the United States. This shift helps compensate for its conventional military inferiority.

Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on April 8, 2022

Wikimedia Commons/ President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official website

Magazine Article - Arms Control Today

Negative Security Assurances After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

| July 07, 2022

On February 24, the international community took a catastrophic blow. Already battered by two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and deteriorating interstate relations, it stood in horror as Russian forces unleashed an unprovoked war on a neighboring country. Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and reject Ukraine’s very existence as a separate state is ominous and highly momentous for the future of the world order.

Hijacked airliner headed toward World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001

REUTERS/Sean Adair

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

Countering Terrorism With "Blue Sky" Thinking

| May 19, 2022

In the past, strategic surprise has often stemmed from a failure of imagination. Most intelligence failures are rooted in a lack of foresight or early warning of impending events. Blue sky thinking seeks to prevent these surprises by devoting more attention not just to known risks and likely scenarios, but also to low probability, high impact events. In an unprecedented step in forging ongoing global collaboration, 129 global experts gathered in Amman, Jordan, in December 2021. The conference was held under the auspices of Jordan’s Aqaba Process and facilitated by representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project. Attendees included intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers, private sector practitioners, and academics representing 29 countries, 5 continents, and 68 government and private sector organizations. Through presentations and discussion under Chatham House Rules, the conference facilitated an open exchange of ideas on the possible next big threats from terrorism and on strategies for moving forward.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 ICBM in North Korea on July 4, 2017.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Defending the United States: Revisiting National Missile Defense against North Korea

| Winter 2021/22

The costly Ground-based Midcourse Defense system remains unproven and unreliable in deterring North Korea’s threat to use intercontinental ballistic missiles. An airborne boost-phase intercept system may offer an alternative defense against North Korea without threatening Russian or Chinese deterrents.