Homeland Security: Federal Efforts Are Helping to Alleviate Some Challenges Encountered by State and Local Information Fusion Centers, Report to Congressional Committees   [open pdf - 1MB]

"In general, a fusion center is a collaborative effort to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. Recognizing that fusion centers are a mechanism for information sharing, the federal government--including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), which has primary responsibility for government-wide information sharing and is located in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence--is taking steps to partner with fusion centers. In response to your request, GAO examined (1) the status and characteristics of fusion centers and (2) to what extent federal efforts help alleviate challenges the centers identified. GAO reviewed center-related documents and conducted interviews with officials from DHS, DOJ, and the PM-ISE, and conducted semi-structured interviews with 58 state and local fusion centers. The results are not generalizable to the universe of fusion centers. Data are not available on the total number of local fusion centers. GAO is recommending that the federal government determine and articulate its long-term fusion center role and whether it expects to provide resources to help ensure their sustainability. DHS and PM-ISE reviewed a report draft and agreed with our recommendation."

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