As co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, and a leader in the effort to strengthen our nation’s cyber defenses, I am pleased the House of Representatives recently passed two bills I introduced with my colleague, Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), to strengthen collaborative cybersecurity research and development efforts between the United States and Israel.
We introduced these bills in July, upon our return from a congressional delegation trip to Israel that focused on key cybersecurity issues facing both countries.
The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 5843) and the United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 (H.R. 5877) both passed unanimously out of the House and now await action in the Senate.
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My trip to Israel with Congressman Ratcliffe was an illuminating experience and reinforced my belief that our countries have much to learn from one another when it comes to cybersecurity. This belief has only been reinforced in the intervening months as we saw cyber-attacks that targeted the very foundation of our nation, our electoral system.
Nations share many cybersecurity problems with the private sector, but they do have distinct national security challenges in cyberspace that they must address. Our legislation will further strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and drive innovative, collaborative thinking about homeland security priorities. I am so pleased that my colleagues in the House recognize that cybersecurity is the security challenge of our time, and I urge the Senate to act without delay.
The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act will create a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development ventures between Israeli and American entities. The Secretary of Homeland Security will determine research requirements with help from an advisory board made up of members from successful U.S.-Israeli partnerships, such as the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation.
The United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act expands a successful binational research and development program at the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency to include cybersecurity technologies. This collaboration between DHS and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security helps new products through the “valley of death” between basic and early-phase applied research and successful commercialization, and will help both countries develop solutions to the unique security problems found in the cyber domain.