Executive Director, Middle East Affairs
June 28, 2019
Now more than ever businesses across the globe are on the front lines of advanced, persistent, and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Every day, there is a new story about another company that has been breached, a city held hostage by weaponized malware, or a clever hacking scheme that exploits trusted business relationships throughout supply chains.
As Tom Donohue, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said, “In an interconnected world, economic security and national security are linked. To maintain a strong and resilient economy, we must protect against the threat of cyberattacks.”
Addressing growing cyber threats against American and global business is a top priority for C-suite executives and boards of major American companies. This is a global challenge that transcends borders and requires effective collaboration – at the operational level – between governments and businesses. Fortunately, we have strong allies and partners across the world who understand the nature of these threats and who share our commitment to work together to counter them.
The collaboration between the United States and Israel is a strong example of effective international cooperation in cyber. This week, the U.S. Chamber brought a delegation of U.S. corporate leaders to Israel to discuss emerging areas of global cyber public policy, discover new technology, and expand the overall partnership.
The connection points between the U.S. and Israel on cybersecurity are deep, multi-faceted, and make for a great case study in forging strong ties among governments and private sectors across the globe.
While much of our cyber cooperation takes place between the defense and security organizations of our nations and outside of public view, there are important lessons we can share about this relationship and replicate with other allies around the world.
First, the U.S. and Israeli governments are deeply engaged in cyber collaboration. In 2017, the White House and Israeli Prime Minister’s Office launched a U.S.-Israel Cyber Working Group with the goal of advancing “unprecedented cooperation on cybersecurity through a whole-of-government approach between our two countries on pressing cyber challenges.”
Our governments are now cooperating in a broad range of cyber-related areas, including technical discussions on aviation security between the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and its Israeli counterpart, joint research and development (R&D) programs focused on cyber technology to protect critical energy infrastructure, and risk management activities across digital supply chains.
Second, there is strong alignment on cybersecurity policies in both the U.S. and Israel. In 2014, for example, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in cooperation with academia and the private sector, developed an important blueprint to guide the public sector on best practices for managing and minimizing cyber risk. Israel was the first country to adopt this framework, translating it into Hebrew and sharing it with the Israeli private sector.
Finally, U.S. and Israeli companies are working closely together on innovating the next generation of cybersecurity solutions. Nearly 20% of all global investment in cybersecurity occurs in Israel (behind only the U.S.) and its ecosystem of over 300 active cybersecurity companies, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, a leading economic market data research firm For a country of just 9 million people, Israel is a juggernaut in developing cyber technology and is helping the biggest companies in the world protect against cyber threats.
More than 500 global companies have R&D operations in Israel; two-thirds of them are American companies. Large American companies such as General Electric, Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, Citibank, Intel, and Amazon, to name a few, have cybersecurity-focused R&D centers and innovation labs in Israel. Just last week, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer maker, announced it was opening a cybersecurity hub in Israel “to analyze threats and potential attacks,” according to Luis Veronesi, vice president of global security and compliance.
With the rapid deployment of internet-connected devices and the growing digitization of our economy, the surface area for potential cyberattacks is exponentially increasing. The U.S.-Israel cybersecurity relationship is an important case study for global cooperation between government and the private sector.
About the authors
Executive Director, Middle East Affairs
Joshua M. Kram is executive director for Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he oversees programs and policy initiatives to broaden commercial relationships between the United States and markets in the Middle East.