S'pore & US to further cooperate in cybersecurity, build understanding between 'trusted partners'

A reflection of continued commitment between both countries to expand their defence collaboration.

Jean Chien Tay | August 23, 2021, 01:46 PM

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Singapore and the United States have signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) concerning cooperation in cybersecurity. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the conclusion of the MOUs during a joint press conference on Aug. 23.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Communications and Information, the MOUs, signed on Aug. 20, will institutionalise cyber cooperation between the two defence establishments.

Such cooperation is "professionally valuable", and helps to "build mutual understanding and facilitate info-sharing and collaboration between trusted partners in capacity-building efforts", MCI added.

The statement added that the newly established cooperation could help to build mutual understanding and facilitate information sharing.   

Mindef: Important step in formalising cyber cooperation

The MOUs represent an expansion of bilateral cybersecurity cooperation concerning MINDEF, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and their respective U.S. counterparts.

Representing Singapore, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Melvyn Ong penned his signature on the MOU in tandem with Commander of the U.S. Indo Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino and Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command General Paul Nakasone. 

"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 expand our defence collaboration in more areas," LG Ong said. 

Expansion on existing bilateral initiatives

Both countries have also recently reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening defence relations.

In his visit to Singapore in July, Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen and U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin agreed on the importance of the U.S.' continued engagement in the region as well.

The two countries share wide-ranging cooperations, including dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, training and cross attendance of courses, and defence technology cooperation.

The Singapore-U.S. 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.

Defence ties between both countries are also secured in 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 U.S. forces’ access to Singapore’s military facilities for another 15 years.

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