Homeland Security Monitor- January 2017

Homeland Security Monitor
January 2017

On Dec. 16, 2016, former President Barack Obama signed bipartisan legislation to expand U.S.-Israel homeland security collaboration (AP/ J. Scott Applewhite).

Key U.S.-Israel Homeland Security Legislation Signed Into Law

On Dec. 16, 2016, former President Barack Obama signed the United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 (H. R. 5877) into law. Passed by the House on the Nov. 29 and the Senate on Dec. 10, the bipartisan legislation permanently authorizes an already-existing three-year joint program between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Israel's Ministry of Public Security—and expands it to include cybersecurity cooperation. Currently, the program focuses on wearable technologies for first responders. The two bills were cosponsored by Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) following a trip to Israel last May, where they met with Israeli cybersecurity leaders in the public and private spheres.

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Opinion—The U.S. and Israel: Our Mutual Cybersecurity Innovation

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed published on Dec. 1, 2016, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) discusses the “exponential benefits” of U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation. “After all the great strides our nations have taken together over the years,” he writes, “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.” Ratcliffe cosponsored the bipartisan U.S.-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016, which will expand bilateral cybersecurity cooperation. The bill was signed into law on Dec. 16 after securing passage in the House on Nov. 29 and the Senate on Dec. 10.

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Israeli Cybersecurity Industry Grows as Global Threats Multiply

According to figures released by Start-Up Nation Central, 365 Israeli cybersecurity companies raised a sum of $581 million in 2016, amounting to approximately 15 percent of the total capital raised globally by the industry. These figures represent a nine percent increase in investments in Israel’s cybersecurity industry over the previous year. Furthermore, as investments grew, exits from this sector fell by one quarter in number, or 50 percent in value terms—more cybersecurity companies are opting to take time to grow rather than be acquired for smaller values. The increased interest in Israel’s acclaimed cybersecurity sector comes on the heels of several high-profile cyberattacks in 2016.

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Israeli Team Named Finalist in International Race to Moon

On Jan. 24, Israel’s SpaceIL was announced as one of five finalists remaining in the multi-million-dollar Google Lunar XPrize race to the moon. The announcement comes 10 years after the inauguration of the competition, which began with 33 teams. With 30 engineers working in an Israel Aircraft Industries facility in Yehud, Israel, SpaceIL hopes to finish the spacecraft in the next 11 months. “The fact that we’re one of five teams that achieved this shows what we always knew: We are at the forefront of global technology in Israel and the space industry here has potential to be a leader globally,” said Kfir Damari, one SpaceIL’s founders. “This gives us a lot of motivation to shoot for the moon.”

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