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Singapore, United States Expand Cybersecurity Cooperation in Defence and Financial Sectors

Singapore and the United States have signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to expand cooperation on cybersecurity. In the defence sector,  Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have signed an MoU with the U.S. Department of Defence on cyberspace cooperation, aimed at institutionalising cyber cooperation between both defence establishments.

The MoU was signed by Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) with Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral and Commander of the US Cyber Command General. Such cooperation and engagements are professionally valuable, help to build mutual understanding and facilitate info-sharing and collaboration between trusted partners in capacity-building efforts.

This MoU on cyberspace cooperation between Singapore and US defence establishments is an important step in formalising our cyber cooperation, and a reflection of our continued commitment to expanding our defence collaboration in more areas. We look forward to cooperating with the US in this complex cybersecurity landscape.

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant-General

The defence establishments of Singapore and the US enjoy extensive defence interactions, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross-attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation.

The Singapore-US defence relationship is anchored by the 1990 MoU Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore, the 2005 Strategic Framework Agreement which recognised Singapore as a Major Security Cooperation Partner, and the 2015 Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement which expanded defence collaboration across traditional and non-conventional security areas and laid out new areas of cooperation including in cyber defence and biosecurity. The 2019 Protocol of Amendment to the 1990 MoU extends the US forces’ access to Singapore’s military facilities for another 15 years.

In the financial sector, an MoU on cybersecurity cooperation was signed between Singapore’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, aimed at maintaining and strengthening bilateral institutional ties. The Treasury and MAS have had an ongoing exchange of cyber threat information since 2018. The MoU formalises and strengthens what has already been a strong cybersecurity partnership between both agencies.

Given the growing complexity of cyber attacks and how interconnected the global financial system is, close cooperation is essential to ensure the cyber resilience of our financial systems. This MoU between the US Treasury and MAS will be particularly useful in the areas of cyber threat information sharing and cross-border cybersecurity exercises. It will also help cement what is already a strong and fruitful partnership between our two institutions.

Managing Director of MAS

Specifically, the MoU enhances cooperation between Treasury and MAS in the following areas:

  • Information sharing relating to the financial sector including cybersecurity regulations and guidance, cybersecurity incidents, and cybersecurity threat intelligence;
  • Staff training and study visits to promote cooperation in the area of cybersecurity; and
  • Competency-building activities such as the conduct of cross-border cybersecurity exercises

Secretary of the Treasury said that the United States and Singapore have a longstanding bilateral partnership. In our interconnected world, Treasury and MAS share common goals of maintaining strength and stability, as well as operational and cyber resilience in each country’s economy and financial system.  The cybersecurity cooperation agreement will serve to improve the cyber resilience of both countries’ financial systems.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Singapore has also signed an MoU on cybersecurity in the public sector. The MoU was signed by the chief executive of Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which oversees keeping Singapore’s cyberspace secure and the director of the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which leads the country’s national effort to protect and enhance the resilience of its physical and cyberinfrastructure.

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