The Department and states have made a lot of progress in making the State and Local Fusion Center Program -- a key provision of the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act -- a success in the last three years. Now we are committed to building on that success by supporting the implementation of a National Fusion Center Network.
What do I mean by that? Working with our colleagues in the Department of Justice, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Program Manager-Information Sharing Environment, the National Fusion Center Network strategy will connect more than 50 state and major city fusion centers and the federal government in a partnership to protect America.
I envision a community of state, local and federal intelligence and law enforcement professionals working together – supported by appropriate tools – to achieve a common goal: protection of the nation.
These men and women would leverage federal as well as state and local networks; move relevant information and intelligence quickly; and enable rapid analytic and operational judgments. That is what this National Fusion Center Network is all about.
Our ability to move, analyze and act on information is our greatest strength. We must use the network and the information in that network to push our defensive perimeter outward. That’s what the National Fusion Center Network will do for us.
We in the federal government recognize that state and local authorities have been working at this for years. We, particularly those of us in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the rest of the National Intelligence Community, must aggressively support the states in this endeavor and become a committed partner in creating the National Fusion Center Network.
That is exactly what we are doing.
Intelligence officers equipped with exiting capabilities are helping local authorities as needed and appropriate. In addition, information once only available in cities and states can be shared with the federal government and used to protect the nation as a whole.
This is all very new and different for the Intelligence Community. We are working hard to educate ourselves on the information needs of our state, local and tribal partners, as well as increase our ability to provide them information.
And we all must do this while paying the utmost respect to the civil liberties and privacy of our citizens.
Creating this National Fusion Center Network is a challenging but achievable task. We are doing many things for the first time, and will likely make mistakes. But we will learn from those mistakes, do better, and create what the country should have had before 9/11.
Under Secretary for Intelligence & Analysis
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Washington, D.C.
Leadership Journal / Mon, 19 May 2008 15:11:00 GMT