Founding and History
The Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue was founded to ensure that technology advances freedom—not authoritarianism. Its inspiration is a campaign that succeeded, against all odds, in preventing China’s CCP from dominating 5G telecommunication technologies, putting all our freedoms at risk. Here’s how it happened:
An eye-opening trip to China
In 2017, DocuSign CEO Keith Krach went on a “listening trip” to explore whether his company should enter the China market. What he experienced there was eye-opening. He heard members of the CCP Politburo fiercely criticize the U.S. and he saw technologies that could be used in alarming ways against the United States and its allies. Krach wondered what was being done in Washington D.C. about the situation.
[Image: Krach with Fortune CEO Alan Murray at Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Guangzhou, China, December 5–6, 2017]
Mission to combat CCP aggression
A January, 2018 meeting in Washington D.C. led to Krach being asked to serve his country. On June 20, 2019 he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Under Secretary of State, charged with developing and operationalizing a global economic security strategy that would drive economic growth, maximize national security, and combat the CCP’s economic aggression.
[Image: Krach, with wife Metta, sworn in as Under Secretary of State by Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, June 21, 2019]
The first battleground was 5G telecommunications. By early 2020, most of the world was convinced it was too late to prevent Huawei and other 5G vendors sponsored by the CCP from dominating the next generation of global telecommunications. But Washington officials of both parties feared that this would give Beijing the ability to control—and even deny the US and its allies access to—the 5G networks that drive global commerce and enable the projection of military power.
Birth of Tech Diplomacy
Krach combined his extensive technology expertise and the strategies he used as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur with traditional foreign policy tools to combat the threat. He assembled a diverse group of a dozen results-oriented, seasoned experts from outside of government and paired them with State Department’s foreign service officers. Together they created and executed a strategic plan that targeted Huawei and the CCP’s weak spot: TRUST. This was the genesis of Tech Diplomacy.
[Image: Krach’s team of seasoned experts granted authority to take action on 5G, March 5, 2020]
Creation of the Clean Network
Krach’s team saw that the way to stop Huawei’s domination of 5G was to create a Clean Network of countries and companies that would agree to a set of shared Trust Principles. These standards must be met by any technology deployed within the network. With the foundation in place, the team launched an aggressive plan to build the network.
CCP Ambitions Frustrated
The Clean Network team raced around the globe—at the height of the COVID pandemic—visiting leaders of companies and countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Through a series of strategic chess moves, executed with lightning speed, the team rapidly expanded the Clean Network. In just six months, the Network grew to include 60 Clean Countries, more than 200 Clean Telcos and dozens of industry leading Clean Companies—representing more than 2/3 of global GDP. All were committed not to deploy untrusted tech from Huawei and other CCP-backed vendors.
A Foundation to Build On
Former U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said, “The Clean Network’s defeat of the Chinese Communist Party’s masterplan to control 5G communications was the first time a government-led initiative proved that China’s economic warfare is beatable—because it exposed the CCP’s biggest weakness: lack of trust.”
The Clean Network succeeded in achieving its three objectives: Proving that China Inc. is beatable by defeating the CCP’s master plan to dominate 5G; delivering an enduring model for competing with China in the future; and establishing a beachhead that could be expanded to other vital tech sectors because they all pose the same challenges. Read the full Clean Network story here.
[Image: Keith Krach in conversation with fmr U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster]
The Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue—Ensuring that Technology Advances Freedom
Keith Krach returned to the private sector committed to the work of ensuring that technology advances freedom, not authoritarianism. Krach, along with Mung Chiang, former member of the Clean Network team and current President of Purdue University, founded the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue in July 2021 to carry on the mission.
[Image: Krach Institute CEO, Michelle Giuda, with Institute co-founder and chairman, Keith Krach, and co-founder and president of Purdue University, Mung Chiang.]
The Work of the Krach Institute
Today, the work of the Krach Institute centers around three strategic imperatives:
- Tech Diplomacy training and education for business leaders, technologists, and the global foreign policy community on the practice of Tech Diplomacy
- Bringing together like-minded countries, companies and civil society—the Global Trusted Tech Network—operates by a shared set of democratic values and trust principles to advance freedom
- Creating, testing and codifying key Tech Diplomacy strategies and solutions that can be used to push back against authoritarian domination of vital tech sectors
The Krach Institute leverages Purdue’s strength in innovation, deep expertise in technology, and global prowess in educating transformational leaders. It represents the 5th pillar in Purdue’s reputation as America’s top national security university. The other 4 pillars are: (1) leadership in national security technologies research; (2) lab-to-fab commercialization capabilities; (3) preeminence in STEM education and retraining the workforce; and (4) track record of innovative corporate partnerships.
The Hon. Michelle S. Giuda
CEO, Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue
Former Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
The Hon. Keith Krach
Chairman, Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue
Former U.S. Under Secretary of State; Former Chairman and CEO of DocuSign and Ariba; Former Chairman of Purdue Board of Trustees
Co-Founder Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue
President Purdue University
What is Tech Diplomacy?
New technologies are changing our world in ways traditional diplomacy is ill-equipped to address—disrupting global power relationships, up-ending fair economic competition and destroying individual freedoms.
Keith Krach—former U.S. Under Secretary of State, CEO of DocuSign and founder of Ariba software—and Mung Chiang, President of Purdue University created Tech Diplomacy by combining cutting edge technology expertise, high-tech business strategies, and foreign policy tools, to prevent authoritarian nations from using new technologies to expand their power and undermine precious freedoms.
Hi-Tech Business Strategy
- Category Kingmaking
- Execution Oriented
- Marketing Strategy
- Massive Networks
- Innovation at Scale
Foreign Policy Tools
- National Security
- Policy Making
- Coalition Building
- Global Trusted Tech Network
- Global Trust Standards
- Public/Private Partnership
- Global Tech Security Strategy
- IP Protection
Our academic experts from Purdue University and our distinguished Advisory Council members are focused on developing trusted tech solutions and strategies across twelve critical tech sectors that are most vulnerable to techno-authoritarian influence.
Global Tech Security Commission
The Global Tech Security Commission (GTSC) is a group of international and multi-sector leaders dedicated to protecting freedom via the innovation and adoption of trusted technology.
GTSC’s charter includes forging a Global Tech Security Strategy, unifying like-minded nations, utilizing private sector innovation, building a Global Tech Trust Network, and establishing standards rooted in democratic principles.Learn more
China Risk Mitigation Playbook
Doing business in in a country controlled by the CCP comes with a unique set of challenges and risks, including regulatory complexities, intellectual property concerns, cultural differences, and geopolitical tensions.
Companies must carefully assess these factors and weigh them against potential benefits. Boards and executives also have a responsibility to protect stakeholders and shareholders from the many risks posed by the the CCP’s influence on the Chinese market with a comprehensive China risk mitigation plan.
The China Risk Mitigation Playbook offers business leaders an incisive guide to identifying and reducing the risks of doing business in this market.Learn more
The Global Trusted Tech Network
The Global Trusted Tech Network is a rapidly growing alliance of like-minded countries, companies and civil society that operate by a shared set of democratic values and trust principles to advance freedom.
Trust principles include integrity, accountability, transparency, reciprocity and respect for the rule of law, property and sovereignty.Learn more
Global Mentor Network
Building the next generation of transformational leaders—and tech diplomats—requires mentorship. But there aren’t enough mentors to go around. This is why the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue recently acquired the Global Mentor Network (GMN)—the world’s leading virtual mentorship platform for delivering mentorship at scale.
GMN leverages real world insights and leadership lessons from top leaders in tech, security and business to accelerate the development of aspiring tech diplomats committed to democracy and freedom.Learn more