Our nation faces an evolving threat environment, in which threats emanate not only from outside our borders but also from within our communities. This new environment demonstrates the critical role state and major urban area fusion centers (fusion centers) have in supporting the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between various federal government agencies and state, local, tribal, and territorial partners.
The following is a compilation of national strategies and initiatives that direct our national security, homeland security, and information sharing efforts, as well as the associated references to the critical role of fusion centers and state and local partners in these efforts. Fusion centers accomplish this by providing federal government agencies with critical state and local information and subject matter expertise that they did not receive in the past – enabling the effective communication of locally generated threat-related information to the federal government.
National Security Strategy (2010)
- To prevent acts of terrorism on American soil, we must enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities.
- We will continue to integrate and leverage state and major urban area fusion centers that have the capability to share classified information… to ensure that the analysts, agents, and officers who protect us have access to all relevant intelligence throughout the government.
- The capabilities and resources of state, local, and tribal entities serve as a powerful force multiplier for the federal government’s counterterrorism efforts.
- State and major urban area fusion centers are vital assets critical to sharing information related to terrorism.
- The federal government’s approach to supporting fusion centers respects our system of federalism and strengthens our security posture.
- The suspicious activity reporting process used by the National Network of Fusion Centers and local law enforcement entities…include stakeholder outreach, privacy protections, training, and enabling technology to identify and report suspicious activity in jurisdictions across the country, and serves as the unified focal point for sharing SAR information.
- Effective, timely sharing of information and analysis is essential to homeland security. Fusion centers are entities that were recommended … as the best way for Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial governments and the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to share information and intelligence about terrorist threats, criminal activity, and other hazards.
- Integrating existing technologies and using tools such as State and major urban area fusion centers provide critical delivery vehicles for homeland security intelligence and information.
- We must continue to strengthen baseline capabilities and analytic capacity to operate consistently, rapidly identify and disseminate information, and support and enhance a State and urban area intelligence platform for risk-based, information-driven decision-making by homeland security stakeholders.
- DHS and our partners must continually enhance situational awareness.
- One critical data source is Suspicious Activity Reporting from state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners as part of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. Another source is the “If You See Something, Say SomethingTM” campaign, which encourages citizens to report suspicious activity to the proper law enforcement authorities.
- Through the National Network of Fusion Centers and other mechanisms, DHS will prioritize the development and timely distribution of locally or regionally oriented joint products. These joint products, produced collaboratively by federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, support operations and provide detailed insight on emerging community or region-specific threats.
- Reduce violent firearms crimes by strengthening firearms trafficking intelligence gathering, analysis, inspection, and investigative activity….Expand our ability to identify leads for criminal investigations and inspections through strengthened partnerships with state and local law enforcement, utilizing Fusion Centers.
- Fusion centers must be interconnected and resources leveraged to avoid duplication of effort.
- An information-sharing architecture is required that will allow….fusion centers to contribute information on drug-trafficking organizations and drug-related violent crime so that the information can be accessed by all of those with a need to know and be made available rapidly for operational and strategic purposes.
- State, local, and tribal law enforcement and fusion centers should be provided with regularly updated information on smuggling/concealment methods and techniques.
- Fusion centers help avoid duplication of effort, leverage intelligence resources, connect crime databases, and support efforts to combat organized crime.
- Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies continue to improve intelligence and information sharing through co-location. State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers are now co-located with HIDTA Investigative Support Centers… While these task forces and fusion centers operate nationwide, they also play a vital role along the Nation’s borders.
- Fusion centers are a tool to coordinate with partners to guard against criminal threats and acts of terrorism and improve two-way information sharing across the nation.
- Law enforcement and Intelligence Community agencies have been working to enhance information sharing with state, local, and tribal partners along the Northern border . . . Efforts will focus on enhancing and better coordinating existing operations, including but not limited to EPIC, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Fusion Center, (and) State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers…
- Fusion centers with Northern border counternarcotics responsibilities will be provided with personnel, secure communications, technical and analytic assistance, training, and other core services.
- Progress in information sharing has paralleled this increase in capabilities, as improved technology and new information-sharing protocols have expanded collection, analysis, and dissemination capabilities between and among partners at all levels. Successful initiatives include:
- Assignment of additional intelligence analysts, operations specialists, reports officers and collection requirements managers to EPIC and Southwest border fusion centers.
- Installation of the Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN) at fusion centers.
- Partnerships also are at the core of state and major urban area fusion centers. DHS deploys dedicated personnel with operational and intelligence skills to support fusion centers along the northern border, underscoring the national network’s critical role as a force multiplier.
National Preparedness Report (2012)
- The 2012 National Preparedness Report summarizes how prepared we are as a Nation. It focuses on five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The NPR identifies areas where the Nation has made significant progress, acknowledges remaining opportunities for improvement, and reinforces the important principles of national preparedness. The NPR focuses on threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to U.S. security and resilience.
National Preparedness Report (2013)
- The national network of fusion centers and Joint Terrorism Task Forces continued to mature. In addition, new national strategies and federal interagency governance structures emerged to provide a consistent and unified approach to guide the implementation of fusion center policies and standards.
National Preparedness Report (2014)
- The National Network of Fusion Centers continues to demonstrate progress in enhancing its capabilities and performance, and tailoring products to address customer-identified needs.
- The network continued to mature, with year-over-year progress in several areas including developing strategic plans and establishing processes to verify receipt of analytical products.
- Having already established the ability to quickly collect, analyze, and further disseminate intelligence becomes critical in an imminent threat situation. In order to accomplish this, law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security professionals, and other members of the whole community must form engaged partnerships. These partnerships allow for the seamless acquisition and passage of information. In addition to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) and Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs), as well as state and major urban area fusion centers, a variety of analytical and investigative efforts support the ability to identify and counter terrorist threats by executing these prevention support activities. These efforts include other SLTT and Federal law enforcement agencies, and various intelligence centers and related efforts such as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Regional Information Sharing Systems Centers, criminal intelligence units, real-time crime analysis centers, and others.
- Information sharing includes the issuing of public health alerts to federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal levels of government and the private sector in preparation for, and in response to, events or incidents of public health significance.
- Manage and sustain the public health response includes maintaining situational awareness using information gathered from medical, public health, and other health stakeholders (e.g., fusion centers).
- Enhancing U.S. intelligence collection, analysis, and counterintelligence on Transnational Organized Crime is a necessary first step, but should be accompanied by collaboration with law enforcement authorities at Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial levels.
- Prioritize capacity building across our distributed national biosurveillance architecture, including development and use of point-of-care and multipathogen diagnostics, and the integration of fusion centers, law enforcement, intelligence, and other information collection and sharing activities.
- To help build situational awareness related to the information and communications infrastructure, the Federal government should leverage existing resources such as the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center and fusion centers.
- The capacity to develop timely, well-formulated, and actionable intelligence is vital to the prevention and disruption of threats. The Border Patrol will meet this challenge by supporting an integrated intelligence platform that promotes information sharing throughout the domestic and foreign law enforcement community. This endeavor is accomplished through the integration and support of Border Patrol intelligence frameworks and other intelligence entities such as state and major urban area fusion centers.
- Fusion centers have become an established mechanism for communication and coordination of threat information domestically. In 2011, the FBI and the DHS ensured that fusion centers remained an important focal point for coordination of their joint information sharing efforts and ensuring they met the needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
- The FBI supports communication, coordination, and cooperative efforts between Federal and SLTT law enforcement by providing varying levels of support to fusion centers throughout the United States.
- FBI Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) are the focal point of the FBI Intelligence Program and are the logical conduit for information sharing and collaboration between the FBI (including the JTTFs) and fusion centers.
- It is vital that the FBI and fusion centers have established partnerships to ensure the timely sharing of information addressing overlapping mission priorities, with an added emphasis on terrorism-related threat information.
- The TSC works closely with all fusion centers throughout the United States, notifying them whenever there is an encounter with a KST in their jurisdiction
- RISS Centers have actively engaged with fusion centers in a variety of ways, including collocating efforts, participating as formal members of fusion center governance bodies, and using HSIN.
- RISS intelligence analysts interact daily with staff at various fusion centers, and in some instances, RISS Center staff members are assigned to a fusion center. Fusion center and RISS staffs benefit from daily interactions that enable them to capitalize on each other’s knowledge and experience.
- RISS also participates as an advisory member on the Fusion Center Subcommittee. Through this subcommittee, DHS has facilitated opportunities for collaboration and coordination between field-based information sharing partners in a variety of ways, including analytic exchanges, collaboration on joint products, analytic training, leadership training, and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.