Asia St: “Out of the Shadows: Cybersecurity in Australia and the Indo-Pacific”

Asia Street

Know the Street. Know the people. Know Asia.

Welcome to BGA’s Asia Street blog, where you’ll find commentary and analysis from our people on the ground.

Out of the Shadows: Cybersecurity in Australia and the Indo-Pacific”

October 26, 2020

Last month, BGA Singapore Managing Director James Carouso – previously a senior advisor at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii and deputy chief of mission and chargé d’ affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Australia – participated in an Australian Chamber event featuring a video conference with Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds. The event delved into the cyber challenge for Australia and how the government had in response tried to bring cyber agencies “out of the shadows” to raise public awareness about cyber security and the role of intelligence agencies.

“Defense Minister Reynolds did not mince words regarding the threat our governments and businesses faced from state-based cyber attacks,” Carouso wrote on Linkedin in response to a shared event summary. “She also said Australia is working with allies and partners to develop more secure supply chains for critical goods and tech.”

The effects of trends such as cybersecurity on aspects of interest to companies such as supply chains is a particular area of thought leadership at BGA, especially with the confluence of geopolitical developments including simmering U.S.-China tensions, innovative ideas such as the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, and configurations like the Quad – grouping Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

As a case in point, in a recent op-ed published in the South China Morning Post, Carouso along with BGA New Zealand Managing Director Penny Tucker – one of the premier experts on international trade and economic issues – flagged supply chains as being among the areas where companies and governments have to adjust amid growing U.S.-China tensions. “Global commentators have written widely about how the post-Covid-19 world and the impetus to make supply chains more resilient will affect trade and investment considerations. It behooves the governments of Southeast and South Asian nations to negotiate their inclusion as trusted suppliers to their large trading partners,” Carouso and Tucker wrote.

In the op-ed, Carouso and Tucker also both note that Western countries can and should help other countries in managing such issues. As such, how Australia manages the cybersecurity challenges that Reynolds laid out as well as its wider domestic and foreign policy agenda more generally has implications not only for Canberra, but the wider Indo-Pacific region as well.