Last night, the House passed important legislation, H.R. 4942 -- the "Promoting Antiterrorism Through International Cooperation Act" -- which will promote greater homeland security cooperation between the U.S., Israel and other allies in the war on terror.
Specifically, the legislation creates an office within DHS to ensure the U.S. is leveraging the technical anti-terrorism expertise of our leading allies in the global war against terror, such as Israel and Britain. The director of the proposed office of international cooperation will be charged with fostering collaboration between U.S. public and private homeland security sectors and similar foreign entities through grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. In addition to Israel and Britain, the bill names Canada, Australia and Singapore as potential partners for joint projects.
The bill establishes an Office of International Cooperative Programs within the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for:
- Developing mechanisms and legal frameworks to support international cooperative activity for homeland security research
- Matching U.S. entities engaged in homeland security research with non-U.S. entities conducting similar research
- Convening periodic international homeland security technology workshops and conferences
The House version includes authorization for $25 million for three successive years, while the Senate version authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to spend the funds it believes are necessary to implement the program. Either way, the legislation requires foreign partners to match U.S. contributions through direct funding or by providing staff, facilities, material or equipment to be used on the joint project.