DHS establishes office for intelligence-sharing centers

New office to oversee the department's involvement with the centers

The Homeland Security Department is establishing a new office to coordinate its intelligence-sharing efforts in state and local intelligence fusion centers, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano said today. Officials from different levels of government use information technology to share homeland security-related information through the centers.

The new Joint Fusion Center Program Management Office will be part of DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Napolitano said she strongly supports the centers.

“Fusion centers are a high priority, and all DHS components will have new or enhanced roles in providing coordinated support to them,” Napolitano said.

Napolitano said the new office will:

  • Lead a DHS-wide effort to ensure non-federal law enforcement agencies can define what homeland security-related information they need and in what format they want it.
  • Develop ways to assess threats and trends by gathering, analyzing and sharing local and national information and intelligence through fusion centers.
  • Coordinate with state, local and tribal law enforcement leaders to ensure that DHS is providing the correct resources to fusion centers.
  • Promote a sense of common mission and purpose at fusion centers through training and other support.
  • Develop and promote legal, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties-related training, and support to law enforcement partners and DHS employees.

The Bush administration designated fusion centers, which are owned and operated by states and municipalities, as a central node for the federal government’s efforts for sharing terrorism-related information with state and local officials. DHS is the lead federal agency for fusion centers, and the department said it has directed more than $327 million in funding to the centers between fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2008.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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