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Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

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Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-496-6131
Email: rolf_mowatt-larssen@hks.harvard.edu

 

Experience

Prior to his appointment as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center, Mr. Rolf Mowatt-Larssen served over three years as the Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to this, he served for 23 years as a CIA intelligence officer in various domestic and international posts, to include Chief of the Europe Division in the Directorate of Operations, Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Department, Counterterrorist Center, and Deputy Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support. His overseas assignments include Stockholm (1984-1987), Moscow (1988-1990, 1992-1994), Athens (1990-1992), Yerevan (1992), Zurich (1994-1996) and Oslo (1998-2000). Prior to his career in intelligence, Mr. Mowatt-Larssen served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He is married to Roswitha and has three children. He is a recipient of the CIA Director's Award, the George W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism, the Secretary of Energy's Exceptional Service Medal, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, Secretary of Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Intelligence Superior Performance Medal, among others.

 

 

By Date

 

2011

June 6, 2011

The U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment of Nuclear Terrorism

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Yuri Morozov, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Viktor I. Yesin and Pavel S. Zolotarev

Researchers from the United States and Russia have issued a joint assessment of the global threat of nuclear terrorism, warning of a persistent danger that terrorists could obtain or make a nuclear device and use it with catastrophic consequences. The first joint threat assessment by experts from the world’s two major nuclear powers concludes: “If current approaches toward eliminating the threat are not replaced with a sense of urgency and resolve, the question will become not if but when, and on what scale, the first act of nuclear terrorism occurs.”

 

 

April 13, 2011

Nuclear Security Summit: One Year On and Looking Ahead

Op-Ed

By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

We asked nuclear policy experts in Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs to summarize in one paragraph the achievements in the year since President Obama convened a summit on nuclear security on April 12-13, 2010. And we asked for a second paragraph on what needs to be done in the year before the follow-up summit planned for Seoul, South Korea.

 

 

Spring 2011

"Q & A: Rolf Mowatt-Larssen"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

After more than two decades in intelligence with the CIA and U.S. Department of Energy, Rolf Mowatt­Larssen is now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center focusing on nuclear terrorism, domestic security, and al Qaeda’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ambitions. His most recent research report is titled “Al Qaeda’s Religious Justification of Nuclear Terrorism,” a follow­-up to his timeline of al Qaeda’s quest to acquire WMD. We asked Mowatt-­Larssen to share his views on al Qaeda's intent and justification for terrorism and to reflect on American life post­ 9/11 and the future of global intelligence.

 

 

February 11, 2011

"US and Russian Intelligence Cooperation during the Yeltsin Years"

Occasional Paper

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Over the years, cooperation between the US and Russia has waxed and waned. Trust has come and gone.  As we look to the future to find new  ways of  strengthening this enigmatic relationship, we should draw on propitious times in the past, when Russians and Americans managed to bridge the divide – most notably, during world war two.  History once again favors a genuine partnership between our two nations.  Today, there is more that unites us than divides us.  We confront common threats  of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the challenges of globalization and an interconnected world.  The question is: will we have the courage to do the right thing?"

 

 

Cover design by Tim Duffy

January 2011

Islam and the Bomb

Paper

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

We can not exclude the possibility of nuclear terrorism. It is not tomorrow's threat; it is with us here today. The game changing impact of a single mushroom cloud could destabilize the world order and raise fundamental doubts about the ability of governments to continue to provide security for their people.

 

2010

AP Photo/IntelCenter

November 12, 2010

Al Qaeda's Religious Justification of Nuclear Terrorism

Working Paper

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"...Bin Laden would develop an idea that would breathe life back into Zawahiri's dreams: the United States must become the target of the jihad. If the Americans could be provoked into war, they could be defeated like the Soviets, and expelled from Muslim lands for good. The fall of the U.S. superpower would lead to the overthrow of secular Arab states. This insight led to successive Al Qaeda strikes against the U.S., including the unsuccessful bombing of the World Trade Center (1993), bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa (1998), and the bombing of the USS Cole (2000).  It was not evident at the time, but the road to 9/11 began on the day Al Qaeda was formed."

 

 

AP Images

September 9, 2010

"Nine Years After 9/11: Keeping America Safe"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"In order to achieve success, the intelligence leadership must ensure that every officer in the community understands that the DNI is here to stay, and that the FBI requires their full support. Internal dissonance and institutional rivalries are the surest ways to leave holes in our nation's defenses."

 

 

AP Photo

July 26, 2010

"The Armageddon Test: To Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, Follow the Uranium"

Op-Ed, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"While the total amount of material that has been recovered and publicly disclosed is not sufficient to make a nuclear weapon, the matter is deadly serious. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, none of the recovered nuclear material was reported missing by its owners. Incredibly, none of these cases has been sufficiently investigated to determine the origin, destination, and all those responsible for the theft of the material."

 

 

May 17, 2010

"Russian-American Intelligence Cooperation: Promise vs. Reality"

Event Summary

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"Liaison is an important key to overall U.S.-Russian relations, said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University at a 17 May 2010 Kennan Institute talk. Having spent 23 years as a CIA intelligence officer in various domestic and international posts, Mowatt-Larssen discussed the role of intelligence in the U.S.-Russia relationship, the history of the two countries’ intelligence liaison, and areas of cooperation for the future."

 

 

AP Images

April 21, 2010

"Building a Strategic U.S.- Pakistan Nuclear Relationship"

Journal Article, CTC Sentinel, issue 4, volume 3

By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

"The United States and Pakistan recently initiated a promising series of high level talks to develop a strategic relationship between the two countries. Even in pursuit of such an expanded bilateral agenda, however, lowering the risks associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons must stand at the top of the list of priorities."

 

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