May 10, 2023

Duckworth Introduces Bill to Expand Cyber Coordination with More Partners Across Southeast Asia


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act, legislation to expand the current list of partner countries who qualify for participation in the Department of Defense’s ongoing pilot program to improve cyber cooperation with foreign military partners.

“By working more closely with our partners across Southeast Asia, we can continue to bolster our cyber capabilities and interoperability and help these key partners better protect against cyber attacks,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to introduce this bill that would build on the success of the pilot program I wrote into NDAA, and I look forward to working with our partners across the region to enhance our mutual cyber security, resilience and readiness.” 

This bill builds on a provision that Duckworth successfully wrote into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which provided initial authorization for a pilot program to improve cyber cooperation with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. This pilot, led by the Secretary of Defense, was designed to help each of these partner nations enhance their respective military forces’ cyber security, resilience and readiness and to increase regional cooperation between the U.S. and these nations on cyber issues. The Southeast Asia Partnership Expansion Act would extend the pilot program to include opportunities for Malaysia and the Philippines. Furthermore, this bill would extend the authorization for the pilot, which would sunset in December 2024 under current law, to a new sunset in December 2029.

Duckworth has long advocated for improved partnership and coordination with partners in Southeast Asia. She recently helped introduce the Providing Appropriate Recognition and Treatment Needed to Enhance Relations (PARTNER) with ASEAN Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen relations between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Earlier this year on a congressional delegation to Indonesia, Duckworth met with ASEAN leaders to reinforce U.S. partnership throughout the entire region and find opportunities to increase cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as countering climate change, increasing energy security and ensuring regional stability and freedom of navigation.