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Annual Fusion Center Assessment and Gap Mitigation Activities

Fusion Center Assessment

DHS, in coordination with its interagency partners, Fusion Center Directors, and other fusion center stakeholders, manages the annual Fusion Center Assessment process.  The Assessment collects objective data to evaluate the maturity of fusion center capabilities, which helps state and local leaders identify areas to strengthen capabilities and provides a basis to justify investment requests.  In future years, the Assessment also collects data on the performance of the National Network of Fusion Centers (National Network), which is critical to understanding the unique value and impact of fusion centers in contributing to national information sharing and homeland security outcomes.

The primary goal of the Assessment is to collect data to:

  1. Communicate the value and impact of fusion centers;
  2. Identify, assess, and monitor capability development within fusion centers; and
  3. Define opportunities to improve the quality and effectiveness of federal government support to fusion centers.

The Assessment focuses primarily on measuring National Network implementation of the four Critical Operational Capabilities (COCs) as well as the four Enabling Capabilities (ECs), which are key enablers of the fusion process, as well as other priorities for the network.  The COCs and ECs provide a foundation for the fusion process as a whole.

 The Four COCs

  • COC 1: Receive- The ability to receive classified and unclassified information from federal partners 
  • COC 2: Analyze- The ability to assess the local implications of threat information through the use of a formal risk assessment process
  • COC 3: Disseminate- The ability to further disseminate threat information to other state, local, tribal, and territorial entities within their jurisdictions
  • COC 4: Gather- The ability to gather locally generated information, aggregate it, analyze it, and share it with federal partners as appropriate 

The Four ECs

  • EC 1: Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties (P/CRCL) Protections- The ability and commitment to protect the P/CRCL of all individuals
  • EC 2: Sustainment Strategy- The ability to establish and execute a sustainment strategy to ensure the long-term growth and maturity of the National Network
  • EC 3: Communications and Outreach- The ability to develop and execute a communications and outreach plan
  • EC 4: Security- The ability to protect the security of the physical fusion center facility, information, systems, and personnel 

Following the completion of the annual Assessment process, DHS publishes the findings in an annual report that describes the aggregate capability and performance of the National Network, as well as data-driven recommendations to further strengthen and mature the National Network.

Annual Fusion Center Assessments

Value of the Assessment

  • The Assessment is a critical component of a broader Fusion Center Performance Program that is designed to measure the capability and performance of the National Network of Fusion Centers over time.
  • Assessment data allows the federal government and other partners to better target resources to help fusion centers mitigate capability gaps, maintain those capabilities already in place, and improve performance over time.
  • Assessment data also informs state and local requests for, and allocation of, resources to address capability and performance gaps. Specifically, Assessment data forms the basis of fusion center-related Investment Justifications for the Homeland Security Grant Program.

Gap Mitigation

  • Federal, state, and local fusion center stakeholders share a common goal of supporting a nationwide capacity for receiving, analyzing, disseminating and gathering threat information. The purpose of gap mitigation is to assist fusion centers in fully achieving and maintaining their capacity to execute the COCs and the ECs.
  • The federal government focuses its support for fusion centers through the delivery and deployment of gap mitigation resources. These gap mitigation resources provide fusion centers with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to enable the effective execution of the fusion process.
  • Informed by the results of the annual Assessment, both in terms of fusion centers' capabilities and of the effectiveness of federal support, the federal government identifies resources to effectively support fusion centers with mitigating identified capability gaps, sustaining existing capabilities, and improving performance.
  • By leveraging the resources identified, the National Network may enhance its capabilities in a manner that not only increases the efficacy and efficiency of individual fusion centers but also supports the development of an integrated National Network that shares information and expertise to mitigate risks to the Homeland.


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