Garbarino, GOP colleagues seek full funding for joint U.S.-Israel programs

U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and several of his Republican colleagues recently urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) against defunding two federal cybersecurity innovation programs vital to America’s national security.

Specifically, the lawmakers are concerned about reports that the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is considering defunding the U.S.-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation grant program and the U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Homeland Security (BIRD HLS) program, according to a July 31 letter they sent to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“These two programs incentivize academic and private sector innovation from two of the world’s leaders in cybersecurity to jointly combat the evolving threats we face from malign actors,” wrote Rep. Garbarino and his colleagues. “Both programs should be funded at the levels authorized by Congress in order to ensure both countries are armed with the tools necessary to protect our critical infrastructure.”

As the basis of their concern, the members pointed to current language outlined in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations stating that “S&T shall consider funding” both of these programs.

“This non-binding language allows the department to decide whether these programs are funded to the levels authorized by Congress,” the lawmakers wrote. “With this in mind, we encourage you to consider the congressional intent behind authorizing these programs and fund both programs to the fullest extent possible.”

Because the United States and Israel share a rich history of cooperation in cybersecurity and defense, Rep. Garbarino and his colleagues wrote that it’s the duty of the United States to ensure “we are taking the necessary steps to protect our critical infrastructure from evolving threats posed by malign actors.”

“We believe it is imperative that we continue these partnerships with the Government of Israel and promote our shared interest in cybersecurity innovation by fully funding these programs,” they concluded.

Among the five members who joined Rep. Garbarino in signing the letter was U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC).