Quad Tech Network

About the Quad Tech Network

The Quad Tech Network (QTN) is an Australian Government initiative to promote regional Track 2 research and public dialogue on cyber and critical technology issues.

As part of the initiative, universities and think tanks in Australia (the National Security College at The Australian National University), India (the Observer Research Foundation), Japan (the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies) and the United States (Center for a New American Security) have each prepared papers on key issues facing the Indo-Pacific region.

These papers – together, the QTN series – offer analysis and recommendations on shared challenges facing Australia and Indo-Pacific partners in the cyber and technology environment. The series is intended as a launch point for further discussion, and covers:

  • international peace and security,
  • connectivity and regional resilience,
  • human rights and ethics,
  • and national security.

The QTN is managed by the National Security College at The Australian National University, with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The QTN Series

International Peace & Security

Networked: Techno-Democratic Statecraft for Australia and the Quad

Partner: Center for a New American Security

Author: Martijn Rasser

World leaders recognise that a strategic competition is underway, and that technology is at the core of this competition. This report lays out a blueprint for Quad technology policy. After setting the scene of the current technological and geopolitical landscape and the context in which the group would operate, the report presents a policymaking framework called techno-democratic statecraft. Read more about opportunities for Australian leadership in the Quad network and to build Australia’s tech capacity below.


Human Rights & Ethics

Embracing Difference: Governance of Critical Technologies in the Indo-Pacific

Partner: Australian National University

Authors: Jolyon Ford and Damian Clifford

The Quad grouping aims to promote security and economic cooperation between the Indo-Pacific’s four leading democracies. In this, the grouping is at once a mechanism to cooperate in relation to material interests, and a commitment to fundamental democratic values. Particularly during 2020, the Quad grouping signalled an intention to increase engagement and agenda-shaping in relation to critical technologies. This is a complex undertaking: development, use and regulation of critical technologies cuts across multiple policy areas, including those outside (or at least adjacent to) the Quad’s traditional focus on security and economics. Critical technologies are also inherently social artefacts – they are shaped by, and shape, civil society and private-sector actors. This makes a purely state-led approach to their governance difficult, and arguably inappropriate. This paper considers what an approach to human rights and ethical governance of critical technologies could entail for Quad members.


Connectivity & Regional Resilience

The Digital Indo-Pacific: Regional Connectivity and Resilience

Partner: Observer Research Foundation

Authors: Trisha Ray, Arjun Jayakumar, Sangeet Jain, and Anurag Reddy

At its heart, the Indo-Pacific is a term with its roots in the maritime realm, a confluence of security, economic and geopolitical interests linked to free and open movement between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The emergent Digital Indo-Pacific concept is linked to four factors:

  • the region is home to the world’s largest, most rapidly growing internet user bases,
  • there is a search for regional and domestic alternatives as the US-China trade war escalates,
  • the essentiality and fragility of global technology flows, as highlighted by the global pandemic, and
  • greater scrutiny of bottlenecks created by “efficient” global supply and value chains.

The aim of this paper is to lay a foundation for inclusive collaboration toward a Digital Indo-Pacific, which accounts for the differing but complementary strengths present in the region. Read more about pathways for collaboration in the Indo-Pacific.


National Security

Cyber Security, Critical Technology, and National Security

Partner: National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Editors and Authors: Narushige Michishita, Kohei Takahashi, Tatsuo Ide, Ikuo Takahashi, Kazuo Tokito, and Takahiro Sasaki

Like-minded states such as Australia, India, the United States, and Japan should cooperate and coordinate multilateral responses against grey-zone tactics, including cyberattacks. This paper argues that the protection of critical technology, intellectual property, and data from theft or acquisition by a rival state is imperative. It offers perspectives on Japan’s approach to cyber security and critical technologies, including challenges to cooperating with allied democratic states, China’s cyber warfare and Japan’s response to it, and suggests recommendations for the QTN in attenuating cyber warfare and securing global cyber space.


If you have any questions about this project or the event, please email NSCCyber@anu.edu.au

Image credit: Abysmal / Void (TR). Ars Electronica/Robert Bauernhansl. https://flic.kr/p/WMNtZC
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