Following 9/11, some state and local entities established “fusion centers” to improve information sharing and analysis within their local jurisdiction on a range of threats. These centers, which are state and locally owned and operated, were built upon existing criminal intelligence efforts resident in state and major city police departments. By building upon their experience and expertise in addressing criminal threats, fusion centers were uniquely positioned to identify and detect crimes or threats that may have a national security or homeland security implication. Fusion centers have since evolved to play a unique role in protecting their communities, informing decision making, and enhancing information sharing activities among law enforcement and homeland security partners.
The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) helps the National Network of Fusion Centers to develop and implement their capabilities by leading federal interagency efforts to share information and products, conduct training, deploy personnel, and provide connectivity to classified and unclassified systems. After 10 years of supporting the development of these capabilities, DHS has led the implementation of federal interagency governance processes to facilitate support for fusion centers, as well as the implementation of robust processes for assessing, tracking, and monitoring the capabilities and performance of the National Network.
These efforts enable the federal government to leverage the unique skills and capabilities of the National Network. With timely, accurate information on potential threats, fusion centers can directly contribute to and inform investigations initiated and conducted by federal entities. The success stories featured here illustrate the value of the National Network in preventing, protecting against, and responding to criminal and terrorist threats. They also underscore the value that federal support, including that from DHS I&A, provides in achieving these accomplishments.