US, Israel cybersecurity joint investment announced

The joint cyber program will help increase the resilience of infrastructure through the focus on innovative technologies.

A man types into a keyboard during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. (photo credit: REUTERS/STEVE MARCUS)
A man types into a keyboard during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
(photo credit: REUTERS/STEVE MARCUS)

Israel and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have initiated a joint cyber program to increase the resilience of infrastructure.

In a joint Thursday announcement that was only distributed widely in Israel on Sunday, the two countries said they would seek to invest in cooperative projects between two companies, or between a company and a university or research institution – one from the US and one from Israel.

More specifically, the selected projects will focus on innovative technologies in four areas: secured architecture for protecting core operational processes; real-time risk assessment solutions for small-to-medium-sized airports or seaports; resilience center pilots for small- and medium-sized businesses and enterprises; and advanced data fusion and analytics.

The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Cyber program, also known as BIRD Cyber, just recently issued its first request for proposals to address mission-critical cybersecurity needs.

Grants of up to $1.5 million per project will be provided to “fund up to 50% of research and development budgets.”

Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) program. (credit: Courtesy)Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) program. (credit: Courtesy)

“Our department is committed to direct operational collaboration with our international partners and the private sector to address the most pressing cybersecurity challenges,” said DHS Under Secretary for Policy Robert Silvers. “Through the BIRD Cyber program, DHS and INCD [the Israel National Cyber Directorate] will harness the innovation and ingenuity of the Israeli and American technology sectors to drive security and resilience.”

“Through the BIRD Cyber program, DHS and INCD [Israel National Cyber Directorate] will harness the innovation and ingenuity of the Israeli and American technology sectors to drive security and resilience.”

Robert Silvers

“We look forward to continuing to build the relationship between DHS and INCD to implement this new US-Israel cybersecurity initiative that addresses security needs shared by both nations,” INCD Director-General Gaby Portnoy said. “The joint investment in public-private partnerships should advance innovative and jointly developed technologies to bring the next generation solutions for national level cybersecurity.”

“The new BIRD program advances the US-Israeli partnership through cyber innovation and collaboration to build more secure and resilient infrastructure,” according to DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology Kathryn Coulter Mitchell.

The deadline for submitting executive summaries is November 15, 2022. Projects will be selected for award in March 2023.

Adam Tarsi

In July 2018, US Department of Defense official Adam Tarsi came to Israel to work on joint cutting-edge technology projects to combat terrorism.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post during Tel Aviv University’s Cyber Week and Combating Terrorism Technology Conference – in which he announced two new technologies that will receive special seed funding from the US – Tarsi explained that his department has been working with Israel for years on these issues.

Tarsi, whose specific division is called the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, said the technologies his department helps fund for combating terrorism sometimes are for military and classified use but are other times for use in the civilian sector.

In contrast, Sunday’s announcement was all civilian-focused from beginning to end.