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Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen

Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Email: rolf_mowatt-larssen@hks.harvard.edu

 

 

By Publication Type

 

AP Image

August 7, 2009

"The Armageddon Test"

Discussion Paper

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

How much nuclear material has leaked, and is it in the hands of terrorists, in storage somewhere, or still in circulation? No one knows for sure, but the task of cleaning up the nuclear black market amounts to an Armageddon test for global intelligence. The standard for success is unforgiving: all nuclear material must be recovered before it finds its way into an improvised nuclear device.

 

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."

 

 

March/April 2010

"Proliferation and Terrorism: Big Hype or Biggest Threat?"

Journal Article, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, issue 2, volume 66

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

Where are the sources of greatest threat today? Where is nuclear catastrophe most likely to occur over the next decade?  If we are able to anticipate the breaking news of a nuclear security meltdown, it stands to reason we might be able to prevent it from becoming tomorrow's news.

 

AP Image

July 1, 2009

"Nuclear Security in Pakistan: Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Terrorism"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Arms Control Today

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

"The greatest threat of a loose nuke scenario stems from insiders in the nuclear establishment working with outsiders, people seeking a bomb or material to make a bomb. Nowhere in the world is this threat greater than in Pakistan."

 

AP Photo

April 14, 2010

Assessing Obama's Nuclear Security Summit: Takeaways from Experts at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center

Media Feature

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

President Obama's first-ever Nuclear Security Summit, which brought nearly 40 heads of state to Washington, D.C., this week, was an unprecedented opportunity to focus global leaders' attention on the threat of nuclear terrorism. Experts from Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs offer their takeaways from the Summit and what to do next.

 

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?"

 

April 8, 2015

Give the Nuclear Framework a Chance

Op-Ed, Just Security

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

Based on an initial reading, I believe the framework for a nuclear agreement with Iran is worth trying to develop into a concrete deal, as long as the US-led coalition stays tough on terms, and recognizes that there are no verification measures that can guarantee that Iran won’t cheat. These negotiations are not about creating a legally binding document that replaces Iran’s existing obligations under the Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT), which remain binding. Thus, the details of compliance and measures of verification are notable, but they won’t prove to be decisive in ultimately assessing the merits of the agreement.

 

 

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

January 9, 2015

"The Paris Attack and Terrorism's Next Frontier"

Op-Ed, Just Security

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

The Sydney and Paris attacks are manifestations of the long-predicted lone wolf threat posed by militant Islamism. Unfortunately, there will be more of these kind of attacks to come. In terms of understanding the threat, the evolution of pursuing “jihad” from a group basis to a focus on so-called “individual jihad” is a two-edged sword. In fact, the balance between group-based terrorism and encouraging lone wolf attacks is a matter of considerable debate in leadership levels of Islamist terrorists. A consensus in extremist circles seems to be forming around the idea that the “global jihad” sparked by al-Qaeda’s attack on America on 9/11 is best “managed” by a non-hierarchical approach that encourages local action, undertaken by independent groups or individuals.

 

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