Technology is now the defining element of US-China strategic competition. Australia preserves a deep enmeshment with the United States’ scientific infrastructure, at the same time that it maintains a geopolitical and economic relationship with China. The US-China competition will leave Australia increasingly vulnerable as the US Congress and the Trump administration move to protect Washington’s technological advantage over Beijing. The more the United States pulls away, the more Australia will be pressured to limit its science and technological interaction with China. How does Washington view the technology competition with Beijing? What does this mean for the future of the R&D industry in Australia, including in universities and technology start-ups? How can Australia and the United States work together to avoid some of these potentially unintended consequences? Does Canberra need to boost R&D and cybersecurity investments to build its own technological ‘weight?’
To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Senior Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security William Greenwalt, CEO of the Cyber Institute at Australian National University Professor Lesley Seebeck, and US Studies Centre Research Fellow and author of the report Tech wars: US-China technology competition and what it means for Australia, Brendan Thomas-Noone in conversation with US Studies Centre Director of Foreign Policy and Defence Ashley Townshend.
William Greenwalt is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council within the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security where he focuses on barriers to international industrial cooperation. Bill served in senior positions at the Pentagon, in Congress, and in the defence industry. As Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, he advised senior Pentagon officials on matters relating to the defence industrial base to include mergers and acquisitions, foreign direct investment, technology transfer, manufacturing, and competition policy. His most recent report, Leveraging the National Technology Industrial Base to Address Great Power Competition, identifies needed changes to the US export control system to better encourage industrial partnerships between the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Lesley Seebeck is a Professor of Practice in Cyber Security and CEO of the Cyber Institute, Australian National University. She started as the CEO of the Institute in July 2018. Most recently, she was Chief Investment and Advisory Officer at the Digital Transformation Agency, arriving there from the Bureau of Meteorology where she served as Chief Information Officer from mid 2014 to late 2017. She was recognised as Federal Government CIO of the Year in 2017 and in February 2019 she was appointed to the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board.
Brendan Thomas-Noone is a Research Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defence Program at the United States Studies Centre where he works on national security and technology issues, US defence and foreign policy and Indo-Pacific security. A frequent media contributor, Brendan’s research has appeared in national and international newspapers including The Economist, the Australian Financial Review and The Washington Post.