Student Publication

11 Items

A woman rows a makeshift raft near her partially submerged house in Gagolmari village, Morigaon district, Assam, India, Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

AP

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

Increasing Access to Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems: Promoting Climate Change Adaptation in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region

| August 2020

More than one billion residents of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region will be at risk of exposure to increased frequency and intensity of natural hazards due to climate change and land-use changes. We recommend that HKH stakeholders work towards regional approaches to a coordinated multi-hazard early warning system.

A woman walks with her child in a refugee camp in the western Darfur region of Sudan. This photograph was taken sometime in October of 2004.

Mercy Corps

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

Implementing the Global Fragility Act

| July 2020

The Global Fragility Act (GFA), passed in December 2019, commits the U.S. Government to focus on conflict prevention in its foreign aid strategy. The following policy analysis provides background and context, a country and region selection approach, analysis of Ethiopia and Guatemala as potential priority countries, and recommendations for country and region selection, principles for delivery, principles for monitoring and evaluation, multi-level coordination, and overall strategy formation.

A traveler on a train from Kaohsiung to Taipei watches the news about Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

AP

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

Combatting and Defeating Chinese Propaganda and Disinformation: A Case Study of Taiwan’s 2020 Elections

| July 2020

Using Taiwan’s most recent elections as an example to elucidate the nature of Chinese propaganda and disinformation, this report identifies China’s motives, tactics, and actors in its foreign information warfare.

Paper

Crisis, Issues, and Risk: An Issues Management Model for Businesses

    Author:
  • Jasjeet Ajimal
| June 2020

When a crisis occurs, be it a hurricane, forest fire, or a pandemic­, highly skilled disaster teams are on standby to assess situations, deploy resources, and coordinate amongst multiple organizations allowing the fastest possible recovery. Every crisis manager asks similar questions when confronted with a significant issue. Successful crisis managers utilize a similar thought process, one that can be replicated when dealing with any crisis. 

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, sail in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019.

U.S. Navy photo / SPC Kaila V. Peters

Paper

Asia Whole and Free? Assessing the Viability and Practicality of a Pacific NATO

    Author:
  • Aaron Bartnick
| March 2020

This report will address four questions in the Pacific NATO debate. First, is there a historical precedent for a Pacific NATO? This report does find a precedent in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), though it was largely unsuccessful due to its lack of regional adoption, weak mutual defense provisions, and ultimately became tainted by the Vietnam War.

Second, would such an alliance be necessary given the plethora of existing multilateral partnerships in the region? While there is a broad multilateral landscape in the Indo-Pacific, there is currently no agreement that combines both the wide reach and deep obligations of a hypothetical Pacific NATO. However, the Quad and RIMPAC do bring together many of the key Indo-Pacific powers and serve as an important foundation for U.S.-oriented multilateral regional security.

Third, how could such an alliance be structured? This report examines three options: expanding NATO’s mandate beyond Europe, building on its Enhanced Opportunity Partner (EOP) program, and creating a new alliance system. It also uses the case of Montenegro’s NATO accession to generate a broad set of criteria for future membership.

And fourth, how would Indo-Pacific nations, including China, respond to such an alliance? This would be exceedingly difficult. China has significant economic leverage over even our closest allies, like Australia and Japan.

Intractable internal disputes abound, particularly between South Korea and Japan and four nations—Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam—with competing claims in the South China Sea. Two of the United States’ most important partners in the region, India and Singapore, have a longstanding aversion to exactly this type of alliance system. And for newer partners, like Malaysia and Indonesia, the value proposition is even less clear. The Chinese are likely to respond to any attempts at a multilateral military alliance in its backyard with a whole-of-government effort to stop it. If that alliance includes Taiwan, it could result in even more aggressive action.

Military helicopters fly over the training ground during strategic command and staff exercises Center-2019 at Donguz shooting range near Orenburg, Russia, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

AP Photo/Sergei Grits

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

Defense Playbook for Campaigns

    Authors:
  • Richard Kuzma
  • David Michelson
  • Jacqueline Parziale
  • Kathryn Reed
  • Ryan Solís
  • Tom Wester
  • William Wright
| March 2020

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) is predicated on a single organizing principle: America’s military pre-eminence is rapidly eroding. This is not a new concept. For years, experts have warned that the economic and technological advancements of U.S. adversaries, coupled with the 2008 financial crisis and America’s focus on peripheral conflicts, have caused a decline in America’s military dominance. 

In this context, the advances of near-peer competitors such as China and Russia have created plausible “theories of victory” in potential conflicts across Eastern Europe and East Asia. Competitors’ unaddressed improvements in strategic innovation, economic investment, and dual-use technology increases the risk of conflict and strains the U.S. alliance system. It is urgent that the United States reestablish and maintain credible deterrents against these near-peer competitors. After decades of focusing on post-Cold War ‘shaping’ operations, the American military needs to reinvigorate for full spectrum great power competition.

This report is intended as a blueprint on how to begin that process from graduate students at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Contained inside are 12 memorandums. Each provides a high-level overview and specific recommendations on a key issue of American defense policy. 

A technician prepares a giant construction made up of nearly 1,500 old radios on Vilnius Cathedral square, to commemorate events of 1989 when analog radios were used to coordinate the so-called Baltic Way human chain, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.

AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis

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

Cognitive Warfare: The Russian Threat to Election Integrity in the Baltic States

| November 2019

Recent years have seen a cascade of revelations regarding Russian attempts to interfere with or disrupt elections in the West. While the Russian government’s influence campaign in the 2016 US presidential election is the most well-known, it was by no means an isolated incident. Western governments are waking up the threat that Russian cyber and information operations pose to the integrity of their elections and the stability of their domestic politics. However, the question of how to counter these efforts remains unanswered.

Giles Clarke for UNOCHA

Giles Clarke for UNOCHA

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

Partnering to Protect: Reforming US Security Assistance to Reduce Civilian Harm

Security assistance has long been an important component of American statecraft. The foreign policies of successive administrations have focused on empowering US partners to confront their own security challenges, rather than solving them through American force alone. Today, US foreign and defense policy indicates an intent to work “by, with, and through” partner forces to achieve shared goals. However, the outsourcing of American security objectives comes with a host of potential risks to civilians living in conflict zones or fragile states. Fighting with or relying on local partners–whose interests, priorities, and capabilities may not necessarily align with those of the United States–can complicate or even degrade America’s ability to minimize civilian harm during military operations.

This Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) examines the causes and consequences of civilian harm in security partnerships, and its implications for US foreign policy

In this image made on Friday, April 27, 2012, pages of rival Taiwan newspapers Apple Daily, top half, and The China Times, bottom, are seen depicting each other’s owners in a fight for ownership of a major chunk of Taiwan’s media outlets. (AP)

AP Photo

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

Disinformation Threat Watch

While disinformation is a relatively new priority for Western democracies, countries such as Taiwan and South Korea have spent decades battling influence operations from internal and external actors. As democracies, they share structural strengths and challenges with the US, such as the free-flow of information and protections for civil liberties. Based on interviews with over fifty government officials, journalists, and civil society members, the Taiwan and South Korea case studies outline the many specific disinformation characteristics. By highlighting lessons learned from Taiwan and South Korea’s experiences, we hope to equip US policymakers with a wider portfolio of potential solutions.