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Singapore and US collaborate on cybersecurity

During the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, where Singapore was Chair, Singapore and the United States signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI). The DOI seeks to collaborate on a Singapore-US Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Program for ASEAN Member States. Through the collaboration, partnerships in regional cybersecurity capacity building will be strengthened.

Mr David Koh, Chief Executive of Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and Ms Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, United States Embassy in Singapore signed the DOI. Ms Syptak-Ramnath represented the US Department of State.

Under the Singapore-US Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Program for ASEAN Member States, elements from both nation’s cybersecurity programs were included. From Singapore, it was the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program. From the US, the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership initiative.

The newly inked DOI will extend the work of the annual Singapore-US Third Country Training Program Workshop on Cybersecurity. Held between 13th to 16th August 2018 in Singapore, the Program brought together a total of 26 government officials from ASEAN member states including Timor Leste and Mexico.

Various cyber practices around the region and globally were discussed during the Workshop to identify gaps and develop solutions to fill them. Furthermore, cybersecurity professionals in Singapore were engaged to discuss how the private and public sector can collaborate on key cyber issues.

The Singapore-US Cybersecurity Technical Assistance Program for ASEAN Member States will deliver three cybersecurity training workshops. These will cover various aspects of technical cybersecurity capacity building annually. Key industry partners will also be involved.

The training workshops will be held in Singapore and selected regional venues, in partnership with interested ASEAN partners.

Thus, the program from the DOI is expected to build on the strong ongoing collaboration under the Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation between Singapore and the US. This Memorandum of Understanding was signed in August 2016.

Mr Koh said, “We are glad to deepen our collaboration with the US and build upon the training programs that were previously offered in ASEAN under the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program. This new partnership, which will see the active involvement of key local and international cyber industry players, will help to enrich the program content and strengthen regional cybersecurity capacity.”

During the ASEAN Summit, Singapore had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation with Canada. Various key areas were covered in the MoU. These include information exchange and sharing on cyberthreats and cyberattacks, sharing of best practices on human resource development, provision of technical and certification services and development of cybersecurity standards, and collaboration on regional cybersecurity capacity building.

As cyberthreats evolve to become more malicious and transboundary in nature, it can be expected that such partnerships will be beneficial.

Speaking at a press engagement with US Vice President Mr Mike Pence, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong said, “Although our bilateral relationship is already comprehensive, we are still discovering new ways to cooperate, for example, in energy, advanced manufacturing and technology partnerships.”

Mr Pence said of the DOI, “This new initiative will leverage American business expertise to help our ASEAN partners defend their digital borders.”

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