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Deployed Intelligence Officers and Protective Security Advisors

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deploys Intelligence Officers (IOs) and Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) to support state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT), and private sector partners in homeland security efforts. IOs are embedded in recognized state and major urban area fusion centers (fusion centers) to advance the sharing of threat-related information among the federal government, SLTT, and private sector partners. PSAs serve as critical infrastructure protection and security experts to federal, SLTT, and private sector partners. Though IOs and PSAs serve in different capacities, they complement each other and work together to support homeland security partners and ensure the safety and security of our nation.

Responsibilities of Intelligence Officers

IOs are deployed by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and serve two primary roles: 1) partner with fusion centers to facilitate achievement of the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers1 (Baseline Capabilities) and 2) manage the intelligence cycle in their area of responsibility to include the sharing of threat-related information between SLTT partners and the federal government. The information obtained and intelligence products created by IOs provide the federal government with local context on emerging threats and inform the national threat picture.

IOs perform many of the responsibilities assigned to DHS by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 20072, including:

  • Assist fusion centers and SLTT partners in using and analyzing intelligence and information to develop a comprehensive threat picture;
  • Review relevant homeland security information from SLTT partners and support the generation of Homeland Intelligence Reports;
  • Create intelligence and information products and assist in disseminating the products to SLTT partners, other fusion centers, and the federal government;
  • Support fusion centers to conduct tabletop and live training exercises so that they can regularly assess the capability of individual and regional networks;
  • Assist in the identification, investigation, and interdiction of people, weapons, and related contraband that pose a threat to homeland security; and
  • Enhance the Department's situational awareness about possible terrorist threats involving borders.

To support fusion centers in their achievement of the Baseline Capabilities, IOs provide SLTT law enforcement and homeland security leadership access to best practices, lessons learned, and other resources from the federal government and across the National Network of Fusion Centers. IOs serve as advocates for fusion centers to both DHS and the rest of the federal government to obtain resources and support necessary to implement the statewide fusion process.

Responsibilities of Protective Security Advisors

PSAs are deployed by the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection and are trained critical infrastructure protection and vulnerability mitigation subject matter experts. They conduct specialized site visits to gather critical infrastructure security information, which informs the national risk profile, and they provide information and guidance to SLTT and private sector partners on critical infrastructure protection issues. The PSA program focuses on three core areas: 1) infrastructure protection, 2) critical infrastructure-related incident management, and 3) information sharing with critical infrastructure owners and operators and the private sector.

PSAs enhance infrastructure protection by coordinating critical infrastructure-related training and vulnerability assessments for SLTT partners and owners and operators of critical infrastructure. PSAs also advise law enforcement and homeland security leaders about ongoing state and local critical infrastructure security efforts and assist them in maturing their infrastructure protection capabilities (PDF, 30 pages - 3.5 MB), including working with fusion center analysts. Like IOs, PSAs facilitate information sharing across all levels of government and the private sector with specific emphasis on infrastructure-related vulnerability and physical security information. PSAs provide an invaluable on-the-ground perspective to the Department's national risk profile by identifying, assessing, monitoring, and minimizing risk to infrastructure at the regional and local levels.

Because PSAs are deployed strategically across the United States, they are often the first DHS personnel to respond to incidents that may require federal intervention, especially those involving critical infrastructure. During an incident, PSAs work with state and local Emergency Operations Centers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Offices to advise federal and SLTT partners on issues impacting critical infrastructure and help them prioritize and coordinate critical infrastructure-related response and recovery activities.

Intelligence OfficersProtective Security Advisors

Focus on threat-related information

Focus on risk-related information based upon critical infrastructure-related vulnerability and security information

Support fusion centers to achieve the Baseline Capabilities and support the intelligence cycle in their area of responsibility

Support SLTT implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)

Share information across disparate disciplines on topics such as terrorism, criminal activity, and public safety

Work with SLTT partners to share critical infrastructure information with the federal government

Produce actionable intelligence for dissemination to appropriate law enforcement and homeland security partners

Conduct assessments and security surveys of critical infrastructure to inform the national risk profile and provide guidance to SLTT and private sector partners on critical infrastructure protection and physical security issues

Support coordination of fusion center participation in training and exercises so that they can regularly assess the capability of individual fusion centers and the National Network

Coordinate critical infrastructure-related training and vulnerability assessments for SLTT partners and owners and operators of critical infrastructure

Partnership between Intelligence Officers and Protective Security Advisors

As DHS colleagues and homeland security partners that have distinct but complementary roles, both IOs and PSAs provide valuable information to support each other's efforts. IOs work closely with PSAs to incorporate their critical infrastructure expertise into analyses and intelligence products. Combining vulnerability and security information with threat-related information offers a more comprehensive and accurate risk profile for the nation. Additionally, PSAs possess valuable contacts and relationships that assist IOs in community outreach efforts, especially with critical infrastructure owners and operators and private sector partners. In turn, PSAs through their relationships with IOs access important threat-related information from the federal government, as well as locally generated information pertaining to their jurisdiction. This allows PSAs to provide more informed guidance related to the protection of critical infrastructure within state and local jurisdictions.

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Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers, Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, in coordination with the Department of Justice and DHS, September 2008

Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, 9/11 Commission, January 2007

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