November 02, 2023

Castro, Issa Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand U.S. Cybersecurity Partnerships with Southeast Asian Nations

WASHINGTON Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-48), senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act, bipartisan legislation to expand existing U.S. partnerships with countries in Southeast Asia to enhance their cybersecurity training and practices and improve their capability, capacity, and infrastructure to protect against foreign cyberattacks. Specifically, the bill would expand the list of authorized foreign military partners for an existing U.S. Department of Defense pilot program covering Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia to also provide opportunities for Malaysia and the Philippines. The bill would also extend authorization for the pilot (which would otherwise sunset in December 2024 under current law) through December 2029. A version of the bill was previously introduced in the Senate by Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL).

“As the world confronts new threats and opportunities in cyberspace, cooperation between the U.S. and ASEAN nations can improve cybersecurity and system resilience in our regions and across the world,” said Congressman Castro. “My city of San Antonio, Texas – Cyber City U.S.A. – is proudly home to U.S. Air Forces Cyber and the largest concentration of cybersecurity professionals outside of Washington D.C. The Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act will build on the success of the U.S. Department of Defense’s existing pilot program and create new opportunities to strengthen our relationships in Southeast Asia. I thank Congressman Issa for his partnership on this effort and look forward to working with Senator Duckworth to send our bill to President Biden’s desk.”

“We know the United States must look for new avenues to deepen ties with allies and partners, and extending and broadening our cooperation on cyber defense represents a sound strategy that can deliver key and lasting benefits,” said Congressman Issa. “As China continues to explore ways to exploit cyber vulnerability around the world, this is an ideal time to help provide our partners with the tools they need to safeguard their networks and their data. I thank my colleague Congressman Castro for our work together on this important legislation."

For the full bill text of the Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act, click here.