By Trevor Findlay, Senior Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program
Published along with the report Unleashing the Nuclear Watchdog: Strengthening and Reform of the IAEA — the result of more than two years of research and examining all aspects of the Agency's mandate and operations — this policy brief summarizes the report's key findings and policy recommendations for strengthening and reforming the IAEA.
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.
By Patrick B. Johnston, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2010–2011: International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program, 2009–2010
"The findings indicate that militant leaders do matter and that removing them enhances the effectiveness of counterinsurgency strategies. In brief, decapitations were associated with curtailed insurgent activity, decreased insurgent violence, and an increased likelihood of government victory. These patterns were not limited to certain types of groups; there was no statistical evidence that the impact of decapitation differed across groups with different aims and ideologies."
March 5, 2012
By Yun Zhou, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), 2013–2014; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program (ISP)/MTA, 2011–2013; Former Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2009–2010
It has been one year since the disastrous nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. Experts now view Fukushima as the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
In the aftermath, the Chinese government promptly reaffirmed that nation’s nuclear energy policy. Yet China also became the only nation among all major nuclear energy states that suspended its new nuclear plant project approvals. Before it would restart approvals, China said it would:
1) Conduct safety inspections at all nuclear facilities
2) Strengthen the approval process of new nuclear plant projects
3) Enact a new national nuclear safety plan
4) Adjust the medium and long-term development plan for nuclear power
Where is China on this path, and what is the future of its nuclear power industry?
By Annie Tracy Samuel, Former Associate, International Security Program, July–August 2014; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2011–2014; Former Research Fellow, Dubai Initiative, Fall 2011
This policy brief seeks to contribute to and inform the debate concerning a possible attack by the United States and/or Israel on Iranian nuclear and military facilities. The presumed aim of such an attack would be to weaken the Islamic Republic, particularly by hindering its ability to build a nuclear weapon. However, the history of the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980 calls into question the contention that an attack will weaken the regime in Tehran. This policy brief examines Iran's reactions to the Iraqi invasion in order to shed light on Iran's possible reactions to a U.S. or Israeli attack.
By Michael Beckley, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2011–2012
"China narrowed the gap in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and will likely overtake the United States as the world's largest economy sometime between 2015 and 2040. What matters for national power, however, is not gross wealth, but net wealth—the wealth left over after people are clothed and fed. China's 1.3 billion people produce a large volume of output, but they also consume most of it immediately, leaving little left over for national purposes."
This policy brief analyzes Egypt’s electoral framework in light of legal and political changes following the popular revolt that overthrew Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Over the course of a three and a half month period, Egyptians will elect representatives to lower and upper houses of Parliament: the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council, respectively. Once both houses convene in March 2012, a 100-member constituent assembly will be selected to draft a new constitution.
December 14, 2011
By Risa Brooks
"...[I]nflating the terrorist threat could alienate Muslim communities in the United States. This would be a worrisome development, because those communities’ widespread rejection of terrorism and their ongoing willingness to expose suspected militants are two reasons why the homegrown threat remains small."
The historical growth in the number and variety of Japanese nuclear veto players has made the country an extreme case of stasis in fundamental nuclear policies. Japan is not the only country to experience this phenomenon, however. In many advanced industrialized democracies, the old Manhattan Project model of top-down, centralized, and secretive nuclear institutions has gradually given way to more complex arrangements. And as a general rule, the more numerous the veto players, the harder the struggle to achieve major nuclear policy change.
By Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Gabe Chan, Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Melissa Chan, Former Research Fellow, Energy Research, Development, Demonstration & Deployment Policy Project, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, January 2009–December 2010, Charles Jones, Former Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2011–2013; Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2010, Ruud Kempener, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2011, Audrey Lee, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2011, Nathaniel Logar, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program (STPP)/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group (ETIP), 2012–2014; Former Research Fellow, STPP/ETIP, 2009–2012 and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
The United States needs a revolution in energy technology innovation to meet the profound economic, environmental, and national security challenges that energy poses in the 21st century. Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School undertook a three-year project to develop actionable recommendations for transforming the U.S. energy innovation system. This research has led to five key recommendations for accelerating U.S. energy innovation.