By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- A draft bill from the U.S. House of Representatives would require the U.S. administration to consider expanding its intelligence sharing program to include South Korea and three others if enacted, the bill showed Wednesday.
The National Defense Authorization bill for fiscal year 2022, submitted by the subcommittee on intelligence and special operations, seeks to expand the so-called Five Eyes, the U.S.' intelligence sharing program that currently involves Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
"The committee directs the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, to provide a report to the House Committee on Armed Services, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the congressional intelligence committees, not later than May 20, 2022, on current intelligence and resource sharing agreements between the United States and the countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom; as well as opportunities to expand intelligence sharing with South Korea, Japan, India, and Germany," it says.
The House Committee on Armed Services began reviewing the bill on the day, along with those submitted by other subcommittees, to create its final draft for FY22 National Defense Authorization Act.
The intelligence subcommittee bill, if included in the final draft and enacted, would require the U.S. government to study the benefits of expanding the Five Eyes arrangement, "including the nature of insights that each of these countries may be in a position to contribute."
In a related move, the bill also seeks to require the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in consultation with the commander of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), to submit a report on the U.S.' intelligence collection capabilities and activities in the area of USFK operation.
South Korea and the U.S. are said to be closely cooperating on military intelligence under their more than seven-decades old alliance.
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