The Quad Tech Network (QTN) is an Australian Government initiative to promote Track 2 research and public dialogue on cyber and critical technology issues relevant to the Indo-Pacific region.
As part of the initiative, research institutions in Australia (the National Security College at The Australian National University), India (the Observer Research Foundation), Japan (the National Graduate InsAtitute for Policy Studies) and the United States (Center for a New American Security) have commissioned papers on key issues facing the 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 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
Shaping the Quad’s DNA: How can Quad Countries Manage Biotech’s Opportunities and Risks?
Authors: Dirk van der Kley
This paper argues that biotechnology is set to be one of the most lucrative emerging technologies, offering an opportunity for Quad countries to cooperate on biotech standards, ethics, and joint research infrastructure. This opportunity also presents Quad countries a chance to play a role in shaping the biotechnology security debate. To ensure a common approach is taken to biotech, recommendations include a Biotech Standards Trade enabling program, a security and ethics dialogue, a Joint Research Infrastructure Sharing Arrangement, and an evolution of the Quad Vaccine Experts Group into a biotech dialogue with emerging countries.
In this paper, the authors argue that the Quad countries need to devise effective ways to jointly manage risk and strengthen resilience of 5G components, domestic and foreign networks and global supply chains. They recommend that a common framework for 5G risk and resilience could help Quad countries allocate efforts and resources – including building the needed capacities to monitor and manage risk and resilience – to improve recovery and business continuation of 5G networks, as well as associated supply chains.
This paper argues that the Quad has an opportunity to shape the telecommunications ecosystem in the Indo-Pacific so that key 5G and undersea cable infrastructure are more secure, resilient and open. The authors recommend that a concrete techno-diplomatic strategy – developed in partnership between Australia, the United States, India and Japan – will be key to ensuring that the future of the Indo-Pacific is free and open.
Commissioned by: The Australian National University Author: Jeffrey Wilson
This paper examines batteries as a critical technology. Wilson recognises that the global value chains that produce batteries are insecure. He argues that while all the Quad countries recognise the need for secure battery value chains, they are yet to align their strategies. He concludes that a quad battery partnership should be developed to secure this critical 21st century technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.