The U.S. and Israel signed a joint declaration on June 21 to enhance operative cyber defense cooperation during a visit by U.S. government officials, both governments said the week of June 20.

The agreement was signed on the Israeli side by Eviatar Matania, the head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau, and National Cyber Security head Buky Carmeli as well as U.S. officials Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, and Under Secretary of Homeland Security for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), Suzanne Spaulding.

The declaration highlights the importance of an international integration of forces between the two countries to more effectively deal with joint cyber threats, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said.

 As part of this effort, Israel’s officials agreed the country intends to be one of the first countries to join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Automated Indicator Sharing initiative. This initiative aims to create an automated platform between governments and companies for the rapid sharing of information to thwart or manage cyber attacks.

Described on the U.S. side as a Letter of Intent, DHS said the agreement builds on progress both countries have made over the previous year to increase cyber security collaboration. The agreement identifies several priorities for further cooperation including information sharing, cyber defense of critical infrastructure, building partnerships with the private sector, and research and development focused on cyber technologies and solutions.

 The agreement emphasizes that both countries should establish networks and procedures between Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) equivalent to facilitate real time sharing of operative cyber defense information.

The agreement was signed during a three-day visit by Mayorkas to Israel where he addressed the 6th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference. Mayorkas’ remarks at the conference focused on cyber threats, efforts to protect critical infrastructure, and the importance of sharing cyber information.

 While in Israel, Mayorkas also met with both Israeli counterparts to discuss several homeland security issues including cybersecurity, law enforcement cooperation, and counterterrorism cooperation. He also met with academic and industry cybersecurity stakeholders as part of the department’s efforts to promote public-private partnerships to protect networks and strengthen cybersecurity, the department said.