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Hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - Focus on Fusion Centers: A Progress Report

Hearing

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

SEN. PRYOR: (Let me ?) go ahead and call the meeting to order. I want to thank everyone for being here today. You may not remember, but years ago there was a little game show on called "Beat the Clock." It's kind of what we are doing today, because we're -- the Senate is trying to schedule a series of votes that will start at 3:00 or maybe 3:15, something like that.

So I'm going to actually keep my comments short, but if you all want to go and take your four, five minutes on your opening, you can. I don't think we have to keep it that short, so --- but if you want to abbreviate that, that's fine too.

Let me welcome everyone here to the Ad Hoc Committee on State, Local, and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration. This hearing is entitled "Focus on Fusion Centers: A Progress Report."

We have a great witness list today that I am going to introduce here in just a moment. But really what we are looking at in this hearing is we're trying to assess the role of the federal government in coordinating with and providing guidance to fusion centers.

And for the general public who may not know what a fusion center is, we're going to be talking about that today, because there are some different definitions in different states or different communities, have some new answers there that they're not exactly uniform and just completely easy to define.

But basically, it's cooperation between two or more agencies that provide resources expertise and information with the goal of maximizing the ability to detect, prevent, investigate, apprehend, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. I know that's a mouthful, but that is generally what they do.

So what I'd like to do now is go ahead and just introduce the first panel. And what I'll do is just, I guess, go down the line this way, and introduce all of you and just let you make your five-minute opening statements. And then I'll have some questions I'm sure, and may be joined by the Senators, not sure, again with the compressed hearing schedule today I'm not sure how many will be able to join.

But first let me welcome Captain Charles Rapp. He is the director of Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center. Captain Rapp is a 25-year veteran of the Baltimore County Police Department. In addition to his current position, he's held command positions as a precinct commander, criminal investigations commander, academy director.

He'll today talk about the day-to-day functions of a fusion center, and talk also about baseline capabilities as I understand it.

Next, we'll have Mr. Matt Bettenhausen, homeland security adviser of state of California. For the past three years, he has served the state of California while concurrently acting as chairman of the National Governors Association's Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Prior to that, he was DHS' first director of state and territorial coordination. He'll be looking at coordination and cooperation between state and regional fusion centers as well as how states can use fusion centers to retract criminal -- critical infrastructure.

And last we'll have Mr. Russell Porter. He's the director of the Iowa Intelligence Fusion Center. Mr. Porter has been assigned to work criminal intelligence since 1984 in addition to serving Iowa's fusion center director and chief of the Intelligence Bureau. He also holds the chairmanship of the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, the oldest law enforcement intelligence organization in the country. Today he'll talk about the importance of prioritizing civil liberties and privacy when conducting this type of analysis.

So Captain Rapp, would you want to go and start.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

SEN. PRYOR: All three of you attested on information. You've said it in kind of different ways and different aspects of it, but Mr. Bettenhausen, in your opening statement you mentioned the traditional problem of stovepiping. I'm curious about your thoughts and the panel's thoughts, if you have thoughts, on the progress we're making with regard to breaking down the stovepipes. And you all talk about how important it is to share information. As I understand it, you all have access to lots and lots and lots of different databases, some federal, some otherwise, and are you able to first, access all the information you need, and secondly, are you able to analyze it and understand and actually use it to help?

MR. BETTENHAUSEN: It's a work in progress. We have made progress. It's -- I think all of us at the federal, state, and local level are a little frustrated seven years after 9/11 that there still are things that need to be improved, but we are making good progress. Having embedded DHS analysis -- analysts --- in our fusion centers, having the FBI there, having state and local representatives at the National Counterterrorism Center is key, because part of the problem is that there is a disconnect. They don't understand at the federal level and at the traditional Intel Community, they hear us yapping all the time that we have information needs and information requirements, but what they're missing is, is that we're also Intel and information producers, that you need this information to analyze as well.

I do get continued to get frustrated. I mean, the -- we started off on a lot of different pilots that the federal government throws out there, that are creating new and additional stovepipes, and we're not breaking them down and consolidating them. But the fusion center helps though, and also in essence do some privacy and civil liberty protection, because you bring people who have access to those databases, you ensure the measures that they have in place about who has appropriate access to it. But everybody has access to it by being together, working together in a fusion center, but it still troubles me.

One of the ways that we came around to get around this is because, look, and this is the same promise of the private sector, it's the same for law enforcement, do you want me to get my terrorism information from the law enforcement online? Here's an online with ATAC's --- all of the groups of different places that you could be going. I can't have terrorism liaison officers and people who have this responsibility in the field have to remember the passwords and go on to 17 different sites to search for information.

Again, access to the information is not the same as sharing the information. One of the ways that we overcame out in California is we created CAL JRIES. And what we do as a state with our partners at DOJ and the highway patrol is, we visit all of those sites and pull out the relevant counterterrorism information that we want shared with our law enforcement officers and our terrorism liaison officers, so that they have a one-stop shot. But the stovepiping continues, and I'm afraid the factory is still open here in D.C.

SEN. PRYOR: Uh-huh. Do you have a comment --

MR. : Yeah, if I may, just very briefly. The Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, which is a Federal Advisory Committee for the Department of Justice, has done some great work in terms of trying to address some of these stovepipes. One of the projects they have underway is called the global federated and identity -- Federated Identity and Privilege Management Initiative, and that is one which will help bust some of these stovepipes when it gets rolled out with more people engaged in that.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay.

MR. : Quick comments, sir. Just looking at the federal picture, there has been a great deal of information flow. We've got some products in the center like the homeland security data network, which is a secret level environment. We have a lot of access to that. We still have some battled we need to fight, because there's a lot of information on there and we can't search that portal yet, because DOD doesn't allow us to access to search that portal.

DHS has taken that fight with DOD, but we are still talking about it, you know, a year after it was introduced to the center.

The second thing, I think, we're really missing with the FBI, you know, FBI in Baltimore covers Baltimore and Delaware. They have about 200 agents in their office. We have just in the Baltimore metro area over 5,000 cops. They're starting an initiative where they're going to go out and look to try and develop sources on the street. We already have developed sources on the street that could benefit them. The problem is, they still see the JPTF as information that shouldn't be shared with the locals. And they can share it specifically through the fusion centers, so it doesn't get, you know, broadcast out to a number of people.

But those are the kind of issues, I think, we need to work on, because I think we're missing some of the local components, the street level components that need to go back into the federal intelligence communities.

SEN. PRYOR: Right. Some of that sounds a little cultural, you know, depending on all that. Let me ask if I may --- well, I want to ask you, Captain Rapp, because you -- well, it could go to anybody, but I'm going to ask you Captain Rapp. In a -- just a few practical questions about fusion centers --- in a fusion center, who is the decision maker. If decisions have to be made and it's this shared environment, who actually has the final call?

CAPT. RAPP: In our fusion center which is maybe a little bit different than the others, but I mean, typical chain of command, the director would make the call if there's information that need to get out. If there is a dispute between us and the federal agencies, we also have the ATAC, the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council for the U.S. Attorney's Office. And we have a U.S. attorney that sits as chairman of that council, so if it comes to butting heads between whether we disseminate information in order to get it, we can always use the U.S. attorney as kind of a neutral party to decide, because they're the ones that prosecute the cases as well.

SEN. PRYOR: Is that how you all do it?

MR. : That is true, but the ideal should be is that nobody has ownership of the fusion center. I mean, you have a director and you have leadership, but it should be how we respond to disasters. The incident command and unified command that everybody should feel a part of ownership, and so in the ideal world the director doesn't have to make that decision, you come to consensus.

The director does have the final call, but the difficulty is, is oftentimes, you know, in each of our fusions centers they're different. One is the FBI, mostly it's local law enforcement. We've got great leaders running our fusion centers, but they don't make the calls if it's originated or controlled coming from Washington, D.C., and that can be very frustrating if we think that this is a timely piece of information that gets to come out. We don't get to make that need-to-know a call, and we've got to go back up and fight the chain further above us, then it's beyond just the director at the fusion center.

SEN. PRYOR: All right. Let me ask you this. One of my colleagues in the House, Jane Harman, said not long ago that she feels like there should be an association of state fusion centers to kind of help advocate and help educate up here, maybe. Do you all agree with Representative Harman on that?

MR. : We do and in fact we just had a huge conference, nationwide conference in San Francisco, where we brought all of the fusion centers together. We've talked about it here too that this bottom-up approach, we're producing and having better information on local incidents that could have national implication or much better sharing state to state. At some point, I think the Feds are going to see much more of the value in the fusion centers in terms of how much information we're generating and sharing.

So the nation has broken off into regions. We're also cooperating in regions, and for example, for California, we also have states of interest where we share, for example, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, the southern border that we're also meeting and interconnecting our fusion centers. So in terms of -- the national conference helps brings us all together, and then we have these regional working groups from the Western to the Northeast, the Southeast, and the Midwest in terms of having these fusion centers working together. But on a day-in day-out basis these fusion centers are connecting up on their own.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Chairman, since that conference there has been considerable interest expressed from fusion center directors through the contacts that I have in these various organizations about --- in trying to move forward with such a consortium or such a gathering, as a way of trying to have a consolidated voice and being able to communicate on issues quickly, and you know, and in an agile kind of way when there are questions that rise up about, you know, what's happening out in the fusion center domain.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay. Now, all three of you are --- have positive experience with fusion centers, and you feel like they're good, I mean, I'm assuming you all believe in the concept, and we all recognized there is issues and challenges, but still great concept, doing great things. But let me ask you this. If you are sitting in my chair here, how do you measure success? How do we know that these really are doing great things? I mean, I know there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of it, but how do we know? How do we measure success?

MR. : That's one of the difficult things, because if nothing happens, you're proving the negative. And so there's a lot of things in terms of -- it's not just anecdotal, when you look at the prosecutions such as the JIS case in California that involved prison radicalization and an operational cell in Los Angeles, or the Fort Dix, those things have been interdicted, and the work of the fusion centers has helped in that. In terms of the analysis that's being done, it hard and it's a mistake that we only go down the route of prosecutions being the numbers that we count, and that's what FBI Director Mueller has talked about, you know, the change, sea change that we have to have is that prevention is the key, not prosecution.

And you're always going to have this --- I've thought about this a lot in terms of the metrics that you try to put on top of this. It's difficult, because you can't tell sometimes with your success, but as we get more reporting, for example on suspicious-incident reporting, if terrorists are targeting a site, there is going to be planning. There is going to be targeting, there is going to be operational surveillance, and they also look at this. If the security posture changes, they look elsewhere, but you never going to know that until you ultimately unravel one of these things, but the more information that we get in collecting suspicious-activity reporting which is a metric --- how much more are we hearing from our chemical plants about surveillance; how much more are we hearing from other pieces of key infrastructure about surveillance so that we can look in do we have a rise off the baseline. And that type of reporting is one way that you are going to have a metric. But the true success is nothing happening. And then that's a very difficult thing to measure.

SEN. PRYOR: All right, let me ask Mr. Porter, if I may, about privacy. You know, when I think about the information a fusion center has, it's a very impressive amount of information. I mean, you can pull together, you know, things like cell phone numbers, insurance claims, drivers' license information or photos, and you can really collect a lot of information on people. And that ability invites abuse, and I know that's one of the things you've really been focused over the last several years, either abuse or maybe even if we're not very, very careful with that type of information, that could get into the wrong hands.

So let me ask about privacy, and as I understand it, maybe a little less than half, or maybe around a third-ish of the fusion centers around the country have submitted privacy plans, do you know?

MR. PORTER: Yeah, I think that's all of them are in the process of doing that, but I think there are about more than 20, but I can't cite the exact number as of today.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay. And so tell me what these privacy plans will be and why we have them and what safeguards we're putting in place to make sure the information isn't wrongly used or falls into the wrong hands?

MR. PORTER: Sure. Great, great question, and again a critically important issue, I appreciate your interest in it. And well, first of all in terms of the types of information that you mentioned, there are certainly times when I used my cell phone enlisted on, say, voter registration record or some other type of record where it get into the public domain and these are available to others. And so much of that information that a fusion center may have access to is something that law enforcement agencies have accessed for years in investigating crime. But that becomes a key point, is the criminal predication, but that is what launches an inquiry or a gathering of information. And when agencies are adhering to say 28 CFR Part 23 in the Court of Federal Regulations, the regulations that govern criminal intelligence systems and the operating policies for those systems, there is a requirement that at least for the storage of information that they meet the level of reasonable suspicion. And civil liberties advocates have been very, very satisfied and supportive of that standard. And that's a threshold that is key in these privacy policies and civil liberties protection policies that they adhere to that.

There are certainly times, however, when fusion centers are receiving information that does not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion. And so, through the criminal intelligence coordinating council, we have drafted a tips and leads policy paper that identifies this issue as one that we need to get our hands around as we receive this kind of information, you know, what's the right way to deal with it, and what's the best way to deal with it.

So there are still some challenges there, those privacy and civil liberties policies, policy templates rather, were developed from a broad array of people across not only the Justice system but people that are civil liberties advocates and provided input into those to make sure we have in that framework, issues related to, say, data aggregation and ensuring that when you bring data from multiple sources together, you are not mixing data about person A and person B, and causing some erroneous information that takes place, that that policy addresses things like that.

SEN. PRYOR: Great. Well, listen, I want to thank this first panel; you all have been spectacular. Unfortunately we're going to have to close this panel because we're going to be voting in, you know, 30 minutes or so. So if I could ask you all to relinquish your seats and let the second panel come forward.

What we'll do here as a matter of logistics, we'll allow any senators on the subcommittee to submit questions in writing, we'll leave the record open for 2 weeks and so it's possible you all will get some written questions from various committee members.

MR. BETTENHAUSEN: I also did want to thank you and the chairs of the homeland overall homeland security committee both at the Senate and the House for their support for fusion centers and the legislation that you put to allow our federal grant funds to be used for personnel. We're still struggling with the U.S. DHS to allow that sustainment funding for these critical positions that are also leveraged by our state and local people serving there. So we appreciate your support on that.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

SEN. PRYOR: Thank you and I thank all of you for your testimony and your statements. Let me start, if I may, with you, Ms. Larence, about your GAO report which I believe was dated October of last year, which has been you know roughly six months ago. Are you aware of anything that's changed in the last six months that would --- that you might want to update your report?

MS. LARENCE: Yes, sir we did do some basic updating with both of the departments and the recent legislations that come out --- the national strategies that came out since our report was up dated and we also had staff in the National Fusion Center conference recently in March that helped us to make sure that the issues that we were taking about were still relevant.

SEN. PRYOR: Ms. Larence, you've been able to look at these fusion centers objectively, you've, as I understand it, you've identified a number of things that are very promising and very positive and then you've identified some areas where they have their challenges and they, you know, need to resolve those and improve et cetera. You're probably the most objective person in the room about this. What do you think of next step for these fusion centers is, I mean what are the areas where they really need to focus to take it --- to take their concept of fusion center where it's really achieving the objective?

MS. LARENCE: I think they have a couple of issues to deal with. One, as I mentioned the centers vary tremendously. If you've been to New York City Center it's kind of a gold standard for fusion centers.

I'm not suggesting that all centers have those centers have those capabilities but there are other centers that are just in the planning phases.

And so some centers still need basic help to maintain this baseline level capability and they need help developing their fusion process and developing analysts that have the capabilities to do the work that they need to do on that, the information.

I think, second, this biggest concern is a lot of the centers not all of them because some of them are well funded through their state partners but some of the centers are very concerned about their ability to sustain operations long-term.

Some are very dependant on federal grants but there are term limits to these grants and they are concerned about being able to compete for state funds if federal grants do dry up. So I think funding and building analytical capabilities are probably two of the most important pieces that they're facing.

SEN. PRYOR: I am going to go ahead and ask about that grants piece because I've heard that as well from some local officials about it's hard for them to really plan for the future if they're not certain about their funding sources. Do you have a recommendation on what we should do, there's the Congress, or the federal agencies should do in order to make sure that these local fusion centers can plan?

MS. LARENCE: Well, I think our recommendation put on the table, the policy call that, you know, the federal government needs to decide whether it wants to be sort of more of a Weed and Seed Program, so they provide initial funding to get these centers started. But then the centers really need to develop some other mechanisms to sustain operations over the long term, or if the federal government is building a national network of centers, relying on these centers, asking them to meet baseline capabilities, then does the federal government feel an obligation to be able to continue to fund these centers over the long term. So I think that's probably the policy tradeoff called there, sir.

SEN. PRYOR: I see, let me ask our two federal agency witnesses here about that issue of funding these centers long-term. I know to some extent that's a congressional question but it also is an agency question as well, departmental questions.

Do you think that we should make a long-term commitment to funding these fusion centers? Let me just, if I can start with you, Mr. Tomarchio?

MR. TOMARCHIO: Senator Pryor, I think that that would be a well reasoned consideration by the federal government. You know, we see about 58 fusion centers that are up and running right now. As Ms. Larence said they are in various stages of maturity, some are very robust others are really just getting their sea legs. But the problems that we see across the full spectrum of fusion centers are I think fairly consistent; there are training issues and there these issues of connectivity and certainly issues of sustainability.

And I know that when we were at the National Fusion Center Conference in San Francisco I spoke to a number of folks from around the country and some of the fusion centers felt that they were living on borrowed time. And if you have a --- you can imagine a dark black map of the United States, with a white in each -- in the different states that have the fusion centers, I think it's not beyond the pale that within a certain period of time you will lights blinking out. And I think we need to recognize that because that the advancements that we have made and have been made by the state and locals within the fusion centers and their interrelationship with the feds and the intelligence community and federal law enforcement committee, have been I think very, very admirable. And for us to go back to square one and say, well, that was a great idea but we have a funding issue and sorry it's not going to work, I think that would be a disservice not only to the country but it would certainly be a disservice to the dedicated folks that work in the state and local fusion centers around the country. So I think it's a very prudent approach for, I think the federal --- the Congress to take a real hard to look at that as a possible solution.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay. And do you have anything you want to add to that?

MR. HITCH: Yes, I agree with that very much. I think fusion centers have been and moreover continue to be a prudent investment in public safety. I think that it should be a joint investment, however, not fully funded by the federal government but certainly a significant share in funding by the federal government, but also state and local, because of the point that I made earlier how important fusion centers are to local --- the solving of local crime and cross border crime and so forth.

And also the fact that while we're developing standards across the board and there's certain things that we want at every fusion center, each fusion center has to be customized to some extent to its local environment. A fusion center for Delaware is going to be very different from a fusion center for California. But I do think we owe them a horizon of funding so that they know what to expect and therefore they can plan, because I think they think it's a good idea too. So I think we all think it's a good idea but without a funding horizon and an expectation of what they will get they can't really plan.

SEN. PRYOR: I'm glad you mentioned this idea that each fusion center should be customized to the locality where they are because that does makes sense but it also does raise I think an administrative question from the federal end because they may be so different that you know if you're not careful they really may not be meeting the objectives that the federal government has for them. Which I understand; I think, you know, always the federal government has an interest in the state and local law enforcement being very effective --- I think everybody agrees with that, but still there are other federal objectives that some of these may not meet.

So do you think we should have a set of standard criteria for all of them or do you think it really should be a fusion center by fusion center and analysis for the federal government?

MR. HITCH: Well, I believe that there are standards that all of them should meet and in fact as Mr. Porter mentioned in the first panel there is a set of what we call baseline standards that are being developed right now by Global which is the group that I mentioned earlier supported by the Department of Justice. They're developing working with the fusion center heads to develop a performance criteria, you know, baseline capabilities that any fusion centers should do. That doesn't mean that they're all going to look alike. It's not a cookie cutter, but it does give some baseline capabilities and some measures of their success so that we know when they're doing their job.

SEN. PRYOR: Have you all had the experience yet where a --- one of these fusion centers really is at odds, you know their objectives really are at odds with your objective? Have you run across that situation yet?

MR. HITCH: I have not run into that situation. They all seem to be a welcoming of the support that we as a department have given them, they all appreciate the work that Global has done and the ongoing work that they've done, and certainly the FBI and its tremendous ongoing presence in their facilities. That doesn't mean there won't be kind of operational issues that have to be worked out. But I think, in general, the congruence of objectives is pretty good.

SEN. PRYOR: Yeah. Do you want to comment on that? Mr. Tomarchio?

MR. TOMARCHIO: I would concur with that Senator. I have had no experience where we've been at odds with any of the fusion centers and I've been to about 32 of these centers around the country and they seem to have --- these people really want to do the right thing for their communities and they're working very hard to provide the level of protection that think that they are mandated to do.

SEN. PRYOR: Right.

MR. TOMARCHIO: So we've had no issues.

SEN. PRYOR: Yeah, that's been my experience as well. I mean I've not heard that, but I just wanted to see if you all were picking up on that.

Let me also ask Mr. Tomarchio, if I may, it's really the same question I asked the previous panel and all of you sort of touched on this already but, Mr. Tomarchio, how do you measure success with these fusion centers? You talked about objective criteria, I think Ms. Larence, you talked about having standards and criteria, et cetera, so how do you measure success, how do we know that they're really effective, and that they are worthwhile, and if they're really doing their job out there?

MR. TOMARCHIO: Certainly. There's a couple of metrics that I like to look to look at. First of all, I think the amount of information that's being passed between fusion centers and the federal government and the federal intelligence committee, it's good and valuable information. And one of the things that we were concerned about was that we didn't want to just have information passing for the sake of passing information. We wanted to make sure that the information was relevant, was important, and resulted in actionable intelligence. And we're seeing that, we're seeing good products.

We're also seeing a great understanding of what the requirements are at the state and local level, from the intelligence community. And they're learning what our requirements are of them. And what we're seeing is we're learning about things that happened at the local level that within the beltway we don't see.

You can put a bunch of analysts at the FBI or the DHS to look at the issue of prison radicalization at Illinois but the persons that are going to know what the situations is with prison radicalization in Illinois are the folks in Illinois. And we're seeing that information filter up to the beltway and to the community. And that's important.

I think also that, as I think Mr. Bettenhausen said, I think the idea of proving a negative is important too. I can give you a case in point. A year ago, yesterday, we had the tragedy at Virginia Tech, and when that happened the Virginia Fusion Center, within minutes of getting the information, they made a determination, they put out horizontally to other fusion centers around the country that this is a isolated activity of a deranged individual, there is no nexus to terrorism and there is no need for all colleges and universities around the country to go to DEFCON 1 because there was a possible --- or after these shootings. And that was done very quickly. They were able to "spin down" concern and that in itself is important. So I think that you see situations like that that I think -- that's a metric of success for me.

SEN. PRYOR: Yeah. Did you want to add something to that?

MR. HITCH: I -- there's just this thing I might add --- because I agree with what he was saying --- one of the things --- this is a challenge obviously, ultimately we want to find, you know, success stories. And we want to find things that have prevented and nothing -- that's the gold standard, there's nothing that will really live up to that. But you know as an IT guy, one of the things that we tried to build into our systems is logs and things that will measure the amount of activity and the amount of what in law enforcement is called "deconflictions" when you're interested in something and you then get in contact with another law enforcement officer from a completely different jurisdiction, perhaps across the country, because of the information that you found and we logged that kind of stuff there and we ask for a feedback as part of the information systems process so that we can begin getting real measures of success, as an intermediate level, below the gold standard, but certainly something that would let us know that there was a lot of activity and it's a lot of good dialogue that's happening.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay, right.

Mr. Tomarchio, let me ask you about a very specific FY08 DHS grant issue. And that is FY08 DHS grant guidance apparently restricts how DHS grants to state and local fusion centers can be spent in ways that contradict Congressional intents, specifically, the guidance limits spending on fusion center maintenance and sustainment. Do you know does DHS have any plan to fix the problem by changing the guidance? Do you know anything about that?

MR. TOMARCHIO: I do know a little bit, probably enough to get me in trouble. I know that, you know, one of the things that we do with the department and especially with regard to our folks that deal with the grants is we really try to listen to the needs of the folks in the fusion centers and, you know, nothing is etched in stone. And we're trying to take their input with regard to what their needs are -- now for example "bricks and mortar" which I think that refers to is right now, grant money for bricks and mortar prohibited. We have talked to some fusion centers that have some real bricks and mortar problems that right now fall outside of our guidelines. We will look at that and we will see if that, for whatever reason, needs to be adopted or changed.

So you know we realize this is a very dynamic and changing process and that this whole fusion center stuff is like building an airplane while in flight. So we're not trying to close our minds to saying, sorry, that's just verboten, we're not going to do that. At the same time we have to, obviously you know, we can't be the, can't say "yes" to everyone. So everything is always being looked at, Senator, and I think we are trying the best that we can to try and meet their requirements but also keeping in mind our fiscal and our monetary restraints.

SEN. PRYOR: Good. Well, let's continue to talk about that because you know it appears that Congress had one intent, made the grant guidelines say something a little differently, but let's keep watching that and see if we can make sure that we're all in the same pace there.

Let me also ask our two agency witnesses here. You both have talked about how this is a relatively new concept, these fusion centers, and how they are growing, they differ from center to center --- you mentioned it's like trying to build an airplane while you're in flight" -- I know that you all have spent a lot of time on these fusion centers; what do you hope to achieve with them over the next year? Obviously we are talking about crime prevention and terrorism prevention, but in terms of the fusion centers themselves what would you like to see accomplished over the next 12 months?

In other words tell us kind of what your goals might be and what we might be looking for over the next 12 months to make sure these are up and running and effective.

MR. TOMARCHIO: I think one of the biggest and most important challenges that we face and one thing I would like to see us to more often and may be do it better is to tackle the issue of training. I know that Captain Rapp spoke a little bit about that. We have a -- I think as a result of the fact that we're molding two cultures, we're molding a law enforcement and criminal intelligence culture with a intelligence culture and as I think Captain Rapp said there are instances where folks in the fusion centers don't understand the federal intelligence community, they don't understand the intelligence cycle and I think what we need to do collectively, both the feds and the state and locals is to ensure that we can raise the amount of training and awareness of --- in the fusion centers, of what needs to be done.

The folks that I have met in the fusion centers are incredible motivated to do the right thing. They need the tools, and they need the training to do that. And I think that that's one of the priorities that I think we have to have. We have to be able to get mobile training teams out to the centers; we have to be able to bring in folks from the centers to come to DHS or come to the FBI to receive training. There are numerous courses out there that exist, that will be beneficial to these folks.

Now, the problem that we understand is that it's difficult if you're a police officer or if you're a watch commander in a fusion center to send one of your best analysts to Washington for eight weeks to go to CIA University and receive an analyst's course. We really --- we realize that's the difficulty. We have to find a way that to bring that knowledge to them, whether it's through online training, whether it's through training the trainer, I think we have to start looking at that and we're doing that. But I think that's a very, very, very important challenge for us and I think one that will be met, but it's --- again it's an ongoing job.

SEN. PRYOR: Right.

Do you want to ---

MR. HITCH: I certainly agree on the training and also in technical assistance. I mean one of the things that was mentioned earlier about these annual fusion center meetings that are held, the recent one in San Francisco, it shows the tremendous demand for the kind of information that is being provided by both DHS and DOJ. There were people kind of who couldn't sign up, there just wasn't enough room for them. We had a huge audience and I expect that to continue.

Another thing is, you know, anecdotally you are still hear about some, you know, organizational issues because this is new and cultures need changing and I think the agreements are there, the president's information sharing plan is clear, but yet that doesn't mean that it works out very, very smoothly every single day. And that's what I'd like to see happen is, as issues happen I think we need to resolve them because our guidance is clear. And so I would like to see that. That's really kind of a --- more of a more of a smooth working machine as opposed to kind of organizations in their start up mode.

SEN. PRYOR: Great. And I assume that there will be some new fusion centers coming online and in my home state of Arkansas is sort of in the process of, maybe at least setting one of those final, --- I don't know if they've made their final decision yet or not. I'm sure other states and regions are doing that.

Well, listen I want to thank you all for being here and being part of this panel. And Ms. Larence, I understand that this is your second time before the Subcommittee, is that right?

MS. LARENCE: It is, sir.

SEN. PRYOR: And you win the prize because we never had the same witness twice.

MS. LARENCE: Thank you.

SEN. PRYOR: And we're going to bill a hearing next year for you to come to --

(Laughter)

MS. LARENCE: (Laughs) --- thank you.

SEN. PRYOR: Based on one of your GAO reports just give us any ideas and we'll have a hearing. No, I'm teasing about that. But, no, thank you, it's great to have you back, it's great to have our witnesses here and like I said a moment ago we are going to leave the record open for two weeks. We're going to include all of your prepared written statements, if you have charts or whatever which I'm not sure anyone did today but the GAO report, except of that, all will be part of the record of the subcommittee.

And I want to thank you for your time and your preparation and I just want to thank you all for being here today, but even more importantly thank you for doing what you do because you're are all making a difference and we appreciate it very, very much. And the good news is I'm going to be able to go over and get those votes cast here in a few minutes.

So with that I'll adjourn the hearing and just want to say, thank you.


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