Bill aims to boost cybersecurity efforts in Asia-Pacific region

Bill aims to boost cybersecurity efforts in Asia-Pacific region
© Greg Nash

A House committee chairman has introduced legislation aimed at increasing cyber cooperation with allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

The bill, introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on how to enhance cyber defense efforts and counter propaganda coming from China, Russia and North Korea.

The proposed provision is part of a broader effort to boost security in the region, which has been hampered by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs in addition to ongoing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas.

Both North Korea and China have been known to engage in cyberattacks, Pyongyang most infamously in the cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.


The bill, introduced before the holiday weekend, would authorize more than $2.1 billion in the coming fiscal year for security initiatives in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Thornberry intends to include the measure in annual House defense legislation that the committee is scheduled to consider later this month. 

If enacted, the legislation would require Defense Secretary James Mattis to develop a plan to incorporate cyber with joint planning exercises in the region and to identify areas of potential cyber cooperation with allies in the region.  

The plan would also have to address efforts to “enhance joint, regional, and combined information operations and strategic communication strategies to counter Chinese, North Korean, and Russian information warfare, malign influence, and propaganda activities.”

Mattis would have to brief members of congressional committees with oversight of the Pentagon on the plan within six months of the bill’s enactment.