Members of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus introduced legislation on Wednesday pushing for increased cyber cooperation among signatories to the 2020 normalization agreements.
The legislation, which follows a move by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year to expand cooperative efforts under the Accords to include cybersecurity, comes in response to Iran’s increasing cyber attacks targeting the U.S. and its partners in the region, the senators said.
The Abraham Accords Cybersecurity Cooperation Act of 2023, sponsored by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and James Lankford (R-OK), would formally authorize cyber cooperation between the United States and the Abraham Accords partners, including information sharing, technical assistance to Abraham Accords members, joint cybersecurity training, participation in DHS’ annual cyber exercise program and an annual table-top response exercise with Abraham Accords countries.
The bill would also require DHS and the Department of State to annually report to and brief Congress on progress toward the bill’s goals and plans to further expand cooperation with each Abraham Accords member.
An individual familiar with the legislation said that it would give “teeth” to the announcement from DHS earlier this year, setting down “specific actions for cooperation” and “expectations from Congress.” The individual added that the reporting requirement would help ensure that the executive branch continues to implement and expand such cooperative programs.
“At a time when Iran and other hostile cyber actors are targeting the United States and Abraham Accords countries with malicious cyberattacks, this bipartisan legislation will help strengthen our collective cybersecurity defenses against shared threats,” Rosen said in a statement.
Ernst highlighted that the “Iranian regime has persistently attacked the American homeland and our partners and allies seeking to degrade our cyber infrastructure and steal our secrets.”
Booker said that “cybersecurity… requires international cooperation and collaboration” and said the bill would “enhance cooperation between Abraham Accords countries by facilitating information sharing and coordinating responses to cyberattacks, strengthening our collective ability to combat these evolving threats.”
Lankford noted that “allies like Israel bring tremendous capabilities to the table to strengthen our mutual security.”
Gillibrand said the legislation would “strengthen our ability to protect critical infrastructure, and enable greater security in the region.”
The legislation also gestures toward concerns about digital privacy and civil rights in some of the countries, noting that U.S. activities must protect “human rights and respect for civil rights, civil liberties and individual privacy.”
The bill is the second major legislative initiative from members of the Abraham Accords Caucus in the current Congress, following the MARITIME Act, which aims to implement maritime security cooperation among Accords members.