Today, U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Chairman Peter King (R-NY) released a Majority Staff Report entitled "The National Network of Fusion Centers," detailing the Committee's findings and recommendations developed from a comprehensive study of fusions centers across the country.
The National Network of Fusion Centers (Network) was developed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to close the gaps in information sharing between Federal, State and local law enforcement and emergency responders. Currently, the Network includes 78 fusion centers across 49 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.
Fusion centers serve as hubs of strategic analysis and information sharing where Federal, State, and local agencies are all represented in one location. State and local crime data is coordinated, gathered and reviewed to determine if there is any potential connection to terrorist activity. In addition, Federal terrorism-related information is shared with State and local law enforcement.
The Committee's review concludes that the Network is not functioning as cohesively as it should be and fusion centers are facing numerous challenges that prevent the Network from realizing its full potential to help secure the homeland. Over the course of nineteen months, the Committee logged 147 meeting hours during visits to 32 fusion centers, in addition to briefings and discussions with Federal partners and the National Fusion Center Association.
The full report is available here: http://homeland.house.gov/sites/homeland.house.gov/files/documents/CHS%20SLFC%20Report%202013%20FINAL.pdf.
Chairman McCaul: "Fusion centers were created after 9/11 to correct the failure of information sharing between federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. While much progress has been made, breakdowns in information sharing continue today and the terrorist attacks at Ford Hood and the Boston Marathon are painful examples. The Committee's evaluation found that while the Network of fusion centers is a vital part of our Nation's counterterrorism efforts, it is not currently functioning at its full potential.
"For example, while it is more important than ever for Federal fusion center partners to work together to increase information sharing with state and local law enforcement, the FBI is actually removing analysts and information sharing tools from them. This and other important issues are examined in the Report in an effort to identify ways to improve our counterterrorism efforts. The goal of this report is to aid fusion centers in filling in their capability gaps. I urge them, and their federal, state and local partners to implement the report's recommendations to ensure the Network reaches its full potential to help secure the homeland."
Subcommittee Chairman King: "Nearly 12 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the tragic events in Boston highlight that more work needs to be done to connect the dots. Ensuring critical information sharing between Federal, State and local law enforcement is vital for national counterterrorism and homeland security efforts. This comprehensive report offers 25 recommendations to improve information sharing and analysis, enhance the role of fusion centers, ensure that emergency response providers are fully incorporated into the process, and tear down remaining intelligence stovepipes. My Subcommittee will continue to work with Federal, State, and local entities to ensure that these issues are addressed."