ROMNEY UNVEILS COMMONWEALTH'S ANTI-TERROR FUSION CENTER
Raytheon awarded contract for designing software to assist with intelligence analysis
Taking critical steps to advance homeland security, Governor Mitt Romney today unveiled the latest weapon in the fight against terror, the Commonwealth Fusion Center. Romney also announced the award of a contract to the Raytheon Company for the designing of software to carry out intelligence analysis.
The creation of the fusion center is consistent with the recommendations Romney made to the nation's governors as Chair of the White House's Homeland Security Task Force.
"It is physically impossible to protect all targets that a terrorist might attack," said Romney. "The biggest lesson we learned from the September 11th tragedies is that intelligence sharing between our local, state, and federal law enforcement officials is absolutely necessary to the security of our nation and the citizens of the Commonwealth."
The fusion center was first proposed by Romney in 2003, and is based on lessons learned from successful infiltration of terrorist organizations in the United Kingdom and Israel. Its core mission will be to facilitate critical and timely information sharing from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to municipal police, fire and emergency response agencies. Massachusetts will be the only functioning fusion center in New England; currently New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Iowa, Arizona, and California have fully operational centers.
"Terrorists may plan globally, but when they act, they act locally," said Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn. "A successful terror prevention plan must rely upon information gathered by local law enforcement that can be put in the context of regional and national intelligence."
Terrorist cells often fund their activities through conventional crimes such as credit card fraud, drug dealing, and other financial crimes tied to the funding of terrorist or planned terrorist operations.
The contract with Raytheon will provide the software, integration services, installation, training, and follow-on support. The software will integrate information from multiple law enforcement databases that will provide an analytical capability to identify trends and patterns. Raytheon estimates that it will take approximately six months to develop and implement the state-of-the-art tool.
"We're excited to be able to work with the Massachusetts State Police," said Guy Dubois, Vice president of Operational Technologies and Solutions for Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems business. "This program provides Raytheon an outstanding opportunity to apply our engineering capabilities and technology to the challenges of the U.S. law enforcement and homeland security communities."
The Commonwealth Fusion Center is currently staffed with fifteen analysts and twenty-three intelligence officers. They have received high-level intelligence training, and are providing investigative support to public safety agencies. Once the fusion center is fully operational in 2007, it will be designated the "operational and organizational hub" of the Commonwealth's homeland security efforts.
The State Police is working with the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office and municipal police representatives to develop an operations plan to be used statewide once the software is in place. The Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) is providing each of the five homeland security regions $2 million to accomplish this phase.
"The State Police are committed to working collaboratively with our fellow law enforcement agencies to improve the flow of information, identify criminal trends, and take action to reduce crime and prevent terror," stated Colonel Robbins of the State Police.
The Massachusetts State Police is the primary agency overseeing the Fusion Center, working in close partnership with other local, state and federal agencies including the Regional Homeland Security Councils, Boston Police Tactical Intelligence Center, Department of Corrections, the Massachusetts Transit Police, the United States Coast Guard, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Attorney's Office. The activities of the fusion center will be linked closely to the ongoing work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force based in Boston.