Last week, US President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 into law. Out of the $777.7 billion in defense spending, $10.4 billion will be dedicated to cyberspace activities – and $6 million out of that will go towards establishing a grant program for US-Israel cybersecurity cooperation.
This grant programs mirrors the bipartisan US-Israel Cybersecurity Enhancement Cooperation Act, introduced earlier this year, designed to establish a Department of Homeland Security grant program “ to support cybersecurity research and development, and the demonstration and commercialization of cybersecurity technology.” The Act was first introduced in 2016.
According to the proposal’s text, the grant program would receive an annual $6 million in funding for five years, with private companies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and government entities in Israel and the US being eligible for the grants, as long as they are engaged in a joint venture with a corresponding institution in the other country.
Establishing of the joint program was included in the final NDAA proposal after several legislators who introduced the original bill cosponsored an amendment to the original text, in which it did not appear.
"Make no mistake, cybersecurity is national security and the inclusion of my proposals in the final defense funding bill will serve to improve our ability to mitigate and respond to cyber attacks against this country," said Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino, who cosponsored the amendment (and the original act), after it passed the House.
In October 2021, Israel took part in the President Biden’s virtual 30-country ransomware summit. At the time, one of Israel’s main hospitals was under a ransomware attack. Then, in November, Israel and the US launched a bilateral partnership to protect critical financial infrastructure and expand cooperation, in order to mitigate the threats ransomware attacks post to international economy. The countries’ joint annual cyber drill, CyberDome, was held mid-December.