The US and Israel: Our mutual cybersecurity innovation

Increased collaboration on cybersecurity research and development efforts would produce exponential benefits for both of our countries.

By JOHN RATCLIFFE
December 1, 2016 21:10
2 minute read.
Hacker in a hood

Hacker in a hood. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

 
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When Israel was established more than 68 years ago, the United States was the first country to officially recognize it as a state. Over the decades, Israel has become an indispensable partner and friend thanks to the many shared values that our nations hold dear. Together we’ve championed important principles including democracy, religious freedom, national security, human rights, and individual expression. And in recent years, cybersecurity has revealed itself as another of our top mutual priorities.

The special bond between our nations is far-reaching, extending beyond our governments. Both our countries’ private sectors have risen as leaders on the world stage for our innovation in creating cutting-edge technologies to defend against malicious cyber actors. Due to the influential roles we both play in the cybersecurity software and services sector, we often parallel in our efforts, which constantly offers new ways we can work together in this realm.

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As chairman of the House Homeland Security cybersecurity subcommittee, I recognized our mutual cybersecurity innovation and our shared challenges as an opportunity to extend our partnership and multiply our countries’ individual efforts to address this increasingly important issue. To begin movement toward expanding this collaboration, I led a congressional delegation to Israel in May with my colleague, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-Rhode Island), who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus. During this trip, we met with top government officials such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Dr. Eviatar Matania, head of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, as well as key players in the private sector to discuss pressing cybersecurity issues and analyze new ways we can team up to address them.

The discussions during our trip made it clear that increased collaboration on cybersecurity research and development efforts would produce exponential benefits for both of our countries. And upon our return to the United States, Rep. Langevin and I crafted two pieces of legislation to boost the US-Israel cybersecurity partnership.

My bill, the United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 (H.R. 5877), builds upon an already successful binational research and development program to specifically include cybersecurity technologies, while aiming to push new products through from early research phase to successful commercialization.

Langevin’s bill, the United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 5843), creates a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development ventures between Israeli and American entities.

This week, Rep. Langevin and I were extremely pleased that both of our bills passed in the US House of Representatives unanimously. We now look to the US Senate to take swift action in also passing this legislation, so we can move forward with this important initiative. After all the great strides our nations have taken together over the years, I’m confident that our collaboration in the cybersecurity realm will emerge as a significant areas of mutual accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing how this growing layer of our longstanding partnership will develop in the years to come.

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The author is a US congressman from Texas.

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