Policy report

Benchmarking critical technologies

Building an evidence base for an informed critical technologies strategy
Emerging technologies Disruptive technologies Research and development National security Australia Indo-Pacific Region

Technology policy formulation has recently gained a renewed importance for governments in the era of strategic competition, but contextual understanding and expertise in deciding where to focus efforts are lacking. As a result, decision-makers might not understand their own national strengths and weaknesses. It’s difficult to judge whether a country’s R&D outputs, no matter how advanced, and its development of production capacity, no matter how significant, align with the country’s intended strategic objectives or can be used effectively to achieve them.

The ability to measure the relative strengths and weaknesses of a country by weighing specific strategic objectives against technical achievements is of paramount importance for countries. This is especially true as nations seek to resolve supply-chain resilience problems underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s rejection of the Quad’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, willingness to use economic coercion and the resulting strategic competition, call further attention to multiple technology sectors’ heavy reliance on a single source. A solution must be found that can exploit synergy across multiple technology sectors among collaborating countries while ensuring supply-chain resilience.

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Policy Brief Report No.53/2021