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  • Author: Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, William H. Tobey
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism has not disappeared, though the world has made important progress in reducing these risks. Urgent new steps are needed to build effective and lasting nuclear security worldwide. The nuclear security effort must now shift from short-term improvements toward a focus on a continued search for excellence, lasting as long as terrorist groups bent on mass destruction and the nuclear and radiological materials they might use both continue to exist.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Author: Hui Zhang, Tuosheng Zhang
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the threat of nuclear terrorism has become one of the most significant challenges to international security. China has worked to meet this challenge, but a continuing effort is needed. The 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits raised the issues of nuclear security to a higher political level and enhanced international consensus on the danger of nuclear terrorism. China actively participated in the first two summits, and President Xi Jinping will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March 2014. China's commitment to nuclear security is now well established. Former president Hu Jintao emphasized in 2012 that, "the threat of nuclear terrorism cannot be overlooked." Meeting that threat, as President Hu recognized, "is a long and arduous task."
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Border Control
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Nawaf Obaid
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This proposal for a Saudi Arabian Defense Doctrine (SDD) hopes to initiate an essential internal reform effort that responds to the shifting demands of today and the potential threats of tomorrow. In the last decade, the world has watched as regime changes, revolutions, and sectarian strife transformed the Middle East into an unrecognizable political arena plagued by instability, inefficiency, and failing states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)—the Arab world's central power and last remaining major Arab heavyweight on the international scene—has emerged as the ipso facto leader responsible for regional stability and development.
  • Topic: Security, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Erik Gartzke
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's warning that “the next Pearl Harbor” might arrive via the internet has captured considerable attention. The internet is said to be revolutionary because it is a leveler— reducing Western military advantages—and because dependence on the internet makes developed countries more vulnerable to attack. The conviction that the internet is an Achilles' heel for the existing world order is based on narrow conceptions of the potential for harm. The internet cannot perform functions traditionally assigned to military force. To the contrary, cyberwar creates another advantage for powerful status quo nations and interests.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kathleen M. Vogel
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Flawed Frameworks for Assessing Dual-Use Science. Many U.S. intelligence and nongovernment assessments of dual-use science place too much emphasis on narrow, abstract technical details, rather than on the broader social and scientific factors that can affect terrorist threats. Disconnects between Intelligence and Relevant Experts. Intelligence analysts responsible for assessing security threats in the biological arena have only limited and ad hoc relationships with science advisers or science advisory groups. They have virtually no contact with social science experts who could educate them about the social dimensions of scientific work and technology. Managing the Politics of Expertise. New structures and practices for the acquisition and use of expert knowledge in threat assessments need to be created to reduce the level of distrust between the scientific and intelligence communities. New Resources for Intelligence. Intelligence analysts require a broader array of social, material, and intellectual resources to draw on for their threat assessments of dual-use science.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Science and Technology, Terrorism, Communications
  • Political Geography: California
  • Author: Lucas Kello
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: There is little consensus among scholars and practitioners on how to confront or even characterize the contemporary cyber threat. The range of conceivable cyber conflict is poorly understood by strategic thinkers, and it is unclear how conventional security mechanisms, such as deterrence and collective defense, apply to this phenomenon. The cyber revolution's strategic quandaries need urgent resolution.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Terrorism, Military Strategy
  • Author: Daryl Press, Keir A. Lieber
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Nuclear terrorism is often described as the single biggest threat to U.S. national security. The fear is that a hostile state could surreptitiously transfer a nuclear weapon or fissile material to a like-minded terror group, thus orchestrating a devastating attack on the United States or its allies while remaining anonymous and avoiding retaliation. This fear served as a key justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and it helps drive current arguments in favor of a military strike against Iran's nuclear program.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran
  • Author: John Mueller, Mark G. Stewart
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: On November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, a deluded little man with grandiose visions of his own importance, managed, largely because of luck, to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Since then, many people have contended that such a monumental event could not have been accomplished by such a trivial person. Some of these disbelievers have undertaken elaborate efforts to uncover a bigger conspiracy behind the deed.
  • Topic: Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Bryan C. Price
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Leadership decapitation has largely failed to produce desired policy results against organizations other than terrorist groups, such as state regimes and drug cartels. For example, killing or capturing kingpins has had little effect on the flow of drugs into the United States, and worse, it has often led to more drugs, more cartels, and more violence. Terrorist groups are different. Because they are violent, clandestine, and values-based organizations, terrorist groups are especially susceptible to leadership decapitation.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Crime, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, Narcotics Trafficking, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Patrick B. Johnston
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Targeting militant leaders is central to many states' national security strategies, but does it work? What should policymakers expect when government armed forces kill or capture militant leaders? Is leadership decapitation more likely to succeed or fail under certain conditions? These questions have never been more pressing than since the May 2011 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Islam, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency