National Security

Trump Administration Teams Up With Israel To Counter Cyber Threats

Russ Read

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Trump administration announced Monday the start of a new bilateral working group with Israel focused on cybersecurity.

The group is the first step towards President Donald Trump’s goal of improving U.S. cybersecurity, Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said while speaking at Tel Aviv University’s Cyber Week conference. Future meetings between Israeli officials and the U.S. delegation will focus on a range of issues, including research and development, infrastructure, international cooperation and workforce development.

“We must get serious about deterrence strategy,” said Bossert, noting that a U.N. working group on the subject has been unsuccessful in developing such a policy.

“This may not be achievable through a U.N. effort,” said Bossert. “They were unable to agree even on their final report.”

Instead, the U.S. “will move forward with meaningful bilateral efforts,” including the new working group with Israel. The group aims to develop a different operational construct that can better deter cyber threats. Specifically, it will focus on stopping cyber adversaries before they break into networks and hold them accountable when they are discovered.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also spoke at the conference, said Israel is ready to cooperate with other countries.

“In general, with some reservations, we are better together,” said Netanyahu.

Israel has become a world leader in cybersecurity in recent years, claiming 20 percent of the world’s private cybersecurity investment. The small country’s remarkable success has allowed as many as 700 startup companies to get involved in the cybersecurity sector, according to Netanyahu.

“Cybersecurity is serious business, it’s a serious threat, and it’s big business,” said the prime minister.

Improving U.S. cybersecurity was one of Trump’s promises during his campaign. The U.S. military has already started working toward this goal by creating the “Hack the Pentagon” program to attract talent. It has even considered restructuring its recruitment policies to bring in much needed cyber warriors.

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