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Fusion Centers
in Government Accountability Office Reports


Information Sharing: DHS Could Better Define How It Plans to Meet Its State and Local Mission and Improve Performance Accountability (GAO-11-223, December 2010) (55pp | 880kb | PDF) — "To enhance the usefulness of intelligence products it provides to state and local partners, I&A has initiatives underway to identify these partners’ information needs and obtain feedback on the products, but strengthening these efforts could support the development of future products…Defining and documenting how I&A plans to meet its state and local information-sharing mission and establishing time frames for developing additional performance measures could better position I&A to make resource decisions and provide transparency and accountability over its efforts."


Information Sharing: Federal Agencies Are Helping Fusion Centers Build and Sustain Capabilities and Protect Privacy, but Could Better Measure Results (GAO 10-972, September 2010) (46pp | 429kb | PDF) — "Fusion centers have cited DHS grant funding as critical to achieving the baseline capabilities—the standards the government and fusion centers have defined as necessary for centers to be considered capable of performing basic functions in the national information sharing network, such as standards related to information gathering and intelligence analysis. However, DHS has not set standard performance measures for the centers….DHS has not started developing such measures because the agency is currently focusing on completing the nationwide assessment and compiling its results and, as such, has not defined next steps or target timeframes for designing and implementing these measures. Defining the steps it will take to design and implement a set of measures and committing to a target timeframe for their completion could better position DHS to demonstrate the value and impact of the national network of fusion centers."   


Information Sharing: Federal Agencies Are Sharing Border and Terrorism Information with Local and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies, but Additional Efforts Are Needed  (GAO-10-41, December 2009) (58pp | 843kb | PDF) — "Overall, where federal officials had discussed local and tribal officials’ information needs and had established information sharing partnerships and related mechanisms to share information with them—consistent with the National Strategy for Information Sharing and best practices—the majority of the local and tribal officials reported receiving useful information.…[However,] [o]fficials from 13 of the 20 local and tribal agencies in the border communities we contacted said that federal agencies had not defined what suspicious activities or indicators rise to the level of potential terrorist threats and should be reported to federal agencies or fusion centers. Recognizing this problem, federal agencies are participating in national efforts to standardize suspicious activity reporting."


Homeland Security: Federal Efforts Are Helping to Address Some Challenges Faced by State and Local Fusion Centers (GAO-08-636T, April 2008) (20pp | 260kb | PDF) — "The National Strategy for Information Sharing, issued in October 2007 by the President, states that the federal government will support the establishment of fusion centers and help sustain them through grant funding, technical assistance, and training. However, some fusion center officials raised concerns about how specifically the federal government was planning to assist state and local governments to sustain fusion centers as it works to incorporate fusion centers into the ISE and to implement the strategy."


Homeland Security: Federal Efforts Are Helping to Alleviate Some Challenges Encountered by State and Local Information Fusion Centers (GAO-08-35, October 2007) (177pp | 1.2m | PDF) — "DHS and DOJ have several efforts under way that begin to address challenges [identified by] fusion center officials…However, the federal government has not clearly articulated the long-term role it expects to play in sustaining fusion centers. It is critical for center management to know whether to expect continued federal resources, such as personnel and grant funding, since the federal government, through the information sharing environment, expects to rely on a nationwide network of centers to facilitate information sharing with state and local governments.  Finally, DHS, DOJ, and the PM-ISE have taken steps to develop guidance and provide technical assistance to fusion centers, for instance, by issuing guidelines for establishing and operating centers. However, officials at 31 of the 58 centers said they had challenges training their personnel, and officials at 11 centers expressed a need for the federal government to establish standards for training fusion center analysts to help ensure that analysts have similar skills."


Homeland Security: Preliminary Information on Federal Actions to Address Challenges Faced by State and Location Information Fusion Centers (GAO-07-1241T, September 2007) (17pp | 286kb | PDF) — "DHS and DOJ have several efforts under way that begin to address some of the challenges fusion center officials identified….These individual agency efforts help address some of the challenges with personnel and funding. However, the federal government has not clearly articulated the long-term role it expects to play in sustaining fusion centers. It is critical for center management to know whether to expect continued federal resources, such as personnel and grant funding, since the federal government, through an information sharing environment, expects to rely on a nationwide network of centers to facilitate information sharing with state and local governments. Finally, DHS, DOJ, and the PM-ISE have taken steps to develop guidance and provide technical assistance to fusion centers, for instance by issuing guidelines for establishing and operating centers. However, officials at 31 of the 58 centers said they had challenges training their personnel, and officials at 11 centers expressed a need for the federal government to establish standards for fusion center analyst training to help ensure that analysts have similar skills."

 



Source: Page created by the DHS/Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS/Privacy Office in cooperation with the DOJ, Office of Justice Programs.


Last date revised: 03/15/12