Methods China has deployed to advance its military quantum program

A new report out detailing the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) used by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government and scientists to become a global leader in quantum research and applications.

Intro

This report leverages Strider’s technology platform and proprietary datasets to detail how China has exploited quantum science resources in the West to rapidly achieve global leadership in certain quantum technologies with military applications.

China’s advances in dual-use quantum technologies stem from a multi-decade strategy to exploit Western research institutes. This strategy includes sending Chinese scientists to top quantum research labs around the world for training and then recruiting those Chinese scientists, who made “unwritten agreements” to return before they were sent out, back to China through PRC government talent programs and funding schemes to support the development of China’s quantum research programs.

This activity is done in the name of “international scientific cooperation”, however, the same Western-trained Chinese scientists simultaneously collaborate with Chinese state-owned defense companies to develop military applications for quantum technologies.

The tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) China has deployed to leapfrog competitors in quantum technologies uncovered by Strider’s Global Intelligence Team are fueling a new global competition for dominance across strategically significant scientific fields and emerging technology industries.

The Bottom Line:

  • For more than a decade, China has implemented an intentional strategy to “assign” Chinese quantum scientists to leading research institutes around the world, including in the United States, UK, Germany, and Switzerland, to “master cutting-edge research” with the support of Western government funding after making “unwritten agreements that they must return to China after their studies are complete” to support PRC government dual-use quantum research programs.
    • China’s strategy has succeeded in building a competitive advantage over the U.S. and other nations in certain quantum technologies with military applications.
  • Pan Jianwei [潘建伟] developed and leads this strategy. Pan, known as China’s “father of quantum,” is Head of the Division of Quantum Physics and Quantum Information at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which drives China’s quantum science collaboration with Western research institutes alongside parallel collaboration with China’s major state-owned defense companies.
    • Pan is also a concurrent part-time professor at Germany’s Heidelberg University.
  • Western Universities and research labs have been compromised at the highest levels. Pan and PRC government agencies have recruited a number of Western scientists with monetary incentives through government talent programs.
    • Western quantum scientists inducted into PRC talent programs include Matthias Weidemuller, Dean of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Heidelberg University, and Barry Sanders, a theoretical physicist at the University of Calgary in Canada.
  • Heidelberg University is arguably the most important foreign partner behind China’s rapid progress in dual-use quantum technologies. Over the past decade, Heidelberg University has provided physical equipment to USTC’s quantum lab, trained, and continues to train, a generation of USTC quantum scientists, and engages in cutting-edge joint research with USTC.
  • Pan and his team of quantum scientists at USTC directly collaborate with China’s major state-owned defense companies and are behind numerous recent breakthroughs in quantum military applications. This includes:
    • quantum radar to detect stealth aircraft
    • quantum magnetometers to detect submarines, and
    • quantum key distribution (QKD) to enable encrypted communications for the Chinese military, including on Chinese naval vessels in the “far seas.”

Read the Report

Press Release

Strider Releases Report on China’s Efforts Around Dual-Use Quantum Technologies

Report Details How China Exploits Western Research Institutions to Leap Ahead in Quantum Applications

Today Strider, the world’s first risk intelligence platform leveraging proprietary datasets, machine learning and human intelligence to illuminate economic espionage risks beyond the cyber domain, released a report detailing the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) used by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government and scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China to become a global leader in quantum research and applications.

China’s rapid advances in dual-use quantum technologies stem from a multi-decade PRC government strategy to exploit Western government funding to send PRC scientists to top quantum research labs around the world for training. The government then recruits these scientists, who have made “unwritten agreements” before they were sent out, back to China through PRC government talent programs and funding schemes.

This is all done in the name of “international scientific cooperation” while the now Western-trained PRC scientists simultaneously support China’s state-owned defense companies to develop quantum military applications.

The methods China has deployed to advance its military quantum program, uncovered by Strider’s technology platform and its in-house Global Intelligence Team, are fueling a new global competition across strategically significant scientific fields and technology-driven industries. China’s strategy is positioning it to achieve a competitive advantage over the U.S. and other nations in certain quantum technologies with military applications.

According to the Office of the U.S Trade Representative, IP theft from China is costing U.S corporations $225B-$600B a year. American innovation that represents our nation’s future is being stolen right before our eyes,” said Bill Priestap, Strider board member and former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI. “Strider is the first technology of its kind that allows our universities, corporations and research institutes to have a fighting chance of stopping this.”

“This sobering report is a perfect example of how Strider is a first-of-its-kind technology tool to combat the massive problem of IP theft and economic espionage,” said Bob Ackerman, Co-Founder of the startup foundry DataTribe that invested in Strider. “We cannot fall behind when it comes to quantum technology research. Strider’s technology puts our leaders in a position to see these risks, develop a response and act.”

Strider’s software-as-a-service platform is harnessed by Fortune 500 companies to illuminate employee, third-party ecosystem, and industry risks related to nation state directed activities, enabling these organizations to better safeguard their employees, protect their intellectual property, and secure their long-term competitiveness while never touching the corporate network.

“Foreign governments are increasingly active in the commercial domain as they seek to achieve dominance in emerging scientific fields and technologies deemed strategic, including quantum,” said Greg Levesque, CEO and co-founder of Strider. “We believe in protecting open scientific collaboration, a cornerstone of Western innovation, which is why we’ve released the ‘Quantum Dragon’ report to raise the alarm and provide actionable intelligence.”

Strider’s Quantum Dragon report can be accessed here.

About Strider Technologies
Strider delivers tools and insights to enterprises that enhance their long-term competitiveness, including the ability to combat economic espionage threats. Strider’s technology illuminates previously unseen risks and integrates seamlessly into existing corporate threat management programs. Strider is based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. https://www.strider.tech/

About DataTribe
DataTribe was launched in 2015 with the vision of empowering technologists in the Washington, D.C. region to build and grow successful cybersecurity companies.

Founded by leading investors, startup veterans and alumni of the U.S. intelligence community, DataTribe commits capital, in-kind business services and decades of professional expertise to co-build the next generation of cybersecurity, big data and analytics companies. DataTribe is headquartered in Fulton, MD, with offices in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit https://datatribe.com.