Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen traveled to Australia this past week for the Five Country Ministerial. During the ministerial, Nielsen met with senior security officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to discuss persistent and emerging threats and how the “Five Eyes” nations can work jointly to thwart them.
Nielsen reached a number of actionable agreements with foreign partners to keep the public safe. For example, the secretary and her counterparts signed a statement of intent to expand information sharing on known and suspected terrorists so that all five countries can better detect and disrupt terrorist travel. She and her counterparts also agreed to establish a new “Aviation Security 5” working group to confront evolving security threats to the aviation sector; to strengthen connectivity between cyber centers to enable shared 24/7 monitoring of nefarious cyber activity; to coordinate and consider joint attribution and response activities in the event of a cyber attack or foreign interference incident; and to strengthen efforts to counter human trafficking including by securing our supply chains from goods made by forced labor.
Ministers issued a Joint Statement on Countering the Illicit Use of Online Spaces, which outlines the expectations of our citizens for industry action to counter online child sexual exploitation and terrorist content. The ministers, along with attorneys general from partner nations, issued a joint Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption, which outlines a framework for engaging industry on the benefits and challenges of encryption. They also discussed challenges posed by refugee flows and irregular migration and agreed that more must be done to build asylum capacity in countries of origin and surrounding regions in order to protect vulnerable populations.
Further, Nielsen highlighted recent DHS actions to counter threats, including major aviation security and border security enhancements, new counterterrorism measures, increased efforts to confront human trafficking, new approaches to defending cyberspace and protecting critical infrastructure, and actions to counter foreign interference. She also expressed her deep gratitude to Australia for hosting this year’s productive ministerial.