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Remarks: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel Bischof at the TCTP Closing Ceremony
August 16, 2019

For Immediate Release
REMARKS (as prepared)


Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel Bischof
TCTP Workshop on Cybersecurity

August 16, 2019

Before I begin, I would like to recognize the efforts of my Singaporean counterparts, who have been excellent partners and hosts. Thank you also to all of the fantastic speakers and to my colleagues who traveled from Washington to share their expertise. Finally, thank you to all of you for sharing your knowledge and best practices as you’ve engaged this week.

Cybersecurity affects everyone. Many of us represent governments that have suffered cybersecurity breaches, the United States included, or have personally been affected by a cyber incident. Just last week, we learned that hackers gained access to the personal information of over 100 million individuals in the United States. That wasn’t the first major breach in one of our countries, and it won’t be the last.

This is the fifth time we’ve hosted the TCTP Cybersecurity workshop and it is exciting to witness the maturation of understanding and growing network of government officials responsible for national cybersecurity policies. We do this because we recognize the tremendous economic and social benefits that come with an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.

In light of the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership, announced by Secretary Pompeo on July 30th 2018 as part of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, this program is designed to continue building public-private partnerships and provide cybersecurity capacity building assistance to partner countries.

We are delighted to partner with Singapore to provide training programs such as this one.

Beyond this workshop, our partnership with Singapore on TCTP has provided training to more than 1200 officials in 48 different workshops since 2012. TCTP has proven to be an effective training effort and we are grateful for your governments’ (and your personal) commitment to invest the time here in Singapore. But the work doesn’t stop today. What makes TCTP truly effective is when you return home to share the knowledge and experience you gained here.

Cybersecurity continues to grow as a national security priority for countries around the world. As more people live more of their lives and companies do more of their business online, we all face new and expanded security risks.

Internet use in ASEAN is growing by more than 30% annually, which provides tremendous opportunities for economic growth and prosperity that we must protect by confronting the risks in cyberspace at the same time.

All of our governments recognize at the highest levels the importance of adopting cybersecurity norms and best practices and the need to develop partnerships to protect national networks. At the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity last September, your Ministers reaffirmed the importance of closer regional coordination and agreed in principle on the non-binding norms recommended by the UN Group of Governmental Experts. Earlier this month, ASEAN Regional Forum Ministers approved several proposed cyber confidence building measures, including the sharing of national cyber strategies and policies. Such commitments help enhance trust among nations and in turn helps ASEAN Member States to harness their full economic, social, and security potential.

When you return to your home to share your experience from this course, please do not forget to keep in touch with each other. Robust social networks are as important as the computer networks we protect, and I hope that the professional and personal connections made over the course of the last week prove resilient and long-lasting. Cybersecurity is as much of a human and social issue as it is a computer issue, and the stronger our networks, the better we can all protect ourselves.

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to share with you that I have worked in or visited as a tourist each of your countries, with the exception of Burma, Brunei, and Vietnam – and I hope to visit those in the next three years.

I know English is the language of ASEAN, but I thought I would congratulate you – or try to – in your native tongues.

And so, to our friend and colleague from the Philippines, I say, pagbati!

To our friend and colleague from Indonesia, selamat!

From Brunei and Malaysia, tahniah!

From Timor-Leste, parabens!

From Myanmar, gunpyulwhar!

From Cambodia, saum abaarsatr!

From Laos, ຊົມເຊີຍ!

From Thailand, ขอแสดงความยินดี!

From Vietnam, Xin chúc mừng!

And finally, to our American and Singaporean colleagues who organized this training, Congratulations and thank you!