The JRIC is involved in numerous working groups--unlike most fusion centers, some of those working groups are listed below (not all inclusive): MTA/AMTRAK meetings (monthly); Aviation Security Group (bi-weekly); Port Intelligence Group (monthly); Domestic Terrorism Working Group (monthly); FBI/Public Health Exercise Design Working Group (monthly); WMD/HAZMAT Working Group (monthly); Area Maritime Security Council Meetings (quarterly); Terrorist Screening Center Outreach (ad hoc). The JRIC produces more strategic, tactical, and informational bulletins than most fusion centers and our outreach has received Nation-wide attention. Within the past calendar year the JRIC has produced over 364 intelligence-type products which has been disseminated within our 7-county AoR as well as to NY, Chicago, and Washington, DC. The JRIC is unique in that it simulates a ``smaller D.C. beltway'' . . . the JRIC has all the components in the center like Washington, DC: JRIC Executive Director is an FBI GS-15, State, Local, Fire, Health, Private Sector, DHS, FBI-JTTF, FBI Field Intelligence Group, contract/civilian analysts and a TSC rep . . . we have demonstrated the value of leveraging all these resources to accomplish the mission. The fusion center concept works in Los Angeles and we are the role model for true information sharing and collaboration. It is quite simple. Everyone places their agency hats at the door, is dedicated to the mission, and has passion for protecting our homeland.
Ms. Harman. Thank you, Sheriff Baca. Mr. Riegle. STATEMENT OF ROBERT RIEGLE, DIRECTOR, STATE AND LOCAL PROGRAM OFFICE, OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE AND ANALYSIS, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Mr. Riegle. Thank you. Chair Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, and Members of the subcommittee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear today, especially with my distinguished colleagues at the State and local level. It is an honor to sit at the table with them. As you mentioned, Secretary Napolitano believes a greater level of information sharing between Federal, State, local, and Tribal territorial partners, to be absolutely essential to the strengthening of the safety of the homeland. Since the inception of my office in 2006, the fusion center program has been closely examined by Government and private entities. We have welcomed thoughtful scrutiny from the privacy and civil rights and civil liberties advocacy communities. We have welcomed the interest from the media. We have also welcomed review by the General Accounting Office, the Office of Inspector General, and each of these opportunities--and I stress they are all opportunities--have allowed us to engage in critical dialogue about our program, address misconceptions, and educate stakeholders about the role of fusion centers in connecting Federal, State, local, Tribal, and territorial partners, in order to share in valuable threat information and intelligence. In short, this scrutiny has improved our effectiveness, and it has strengthened the national network of fusion centers. We welcome further scrutiny. The State and local program office has been successful in meeting every program target that has been established. We have enhanced our Federal interagency coordination through the establishment of the National Fusion Center Coordination Group, of which Mr. Porter is a member. We have also hired 34 intelligence operations specialists to support fusion centers across the country. With our colleagues at the FBI, we have jointly designated 70 fusion centers, one in every State and major city, as part of this national network. These centers have agreed to conform to the baseline capabilities that have been released over the past year. Thorough a close partnership with FEMA, National Preparedness Directorate, and the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, we have deployed more than 145 technical-assistance deliveries to fusion centers, ranging from civil liberties-civil rights training, to establishing liaison officer programs. We have delivered privacy training to every deployed INA intelligence operations specialist. These accomplishments demonstrate that the State and local programs office continues to proactively support our State and local partners, while respecting and protecting the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of Americans. We are confident that the future of the fusion centers and the program will continue to operate in a manner that respects the balance between supporting this important mission, and respecting and protecting Americans' rights. The fusion center program marks the first time in United States history where there has been a codified, multi-level, multi-agency approach for sharing threat information and intelligence. Today, by leveraging the fusion center network, we have the ability to share information between the Federal Government and in every State capital. Just as we operate within the National Response framework, and coordinate with emergency management officials, and EOC, during response efforts, we now have the same ability to communicate and transmit threat information almost immediately. We are grateful for our relationships with the State and local, Tribal and territorial partners. I cannot emphasize to you enough the importance of this relationship, and how honored I feel to work with these individuals. There is no Federal Government 911. We recognize the heavy lifting is done at the State and local level. The national fusion center network is fundamentally a grassroots effort, led by the State and localities who own and operate these fusion centers. The Department recognizes that our State and local partners do the lion's share of the work necessary to develop, sustain, and enhance this network. Fusion centers are successful only through the daily work of law-enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency managers, public-health workers, and territorial partners. In conclusion, we ask that Congress work with the Department, under the leadership of Secretary Napolitano, to provide robust, vibrant support for all of those partners who benefit from this relationship, and ensure the long-term success of this program. We know that this program has filled efficiencies across the Department, and we expect to continue to develop those effectiveness working with our Federal partners in the future. Thank you. [The statement of Mr. Riegle follows:] Prepared Statement of Robert Riegle April 1, 2009 introduction Chair Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, and Members of the subcommittee: Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Department's efforts to keep America safe through a vibrant network of fusion centers. Secretary Napolitano believes a greater level of information sharing between Federal, State, local, Tribal and territorial partners to be absolutely essential to strengthening the safety of the homeland. Thanks in large part to statute developed by this committee, the Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has lead responsibility in implementing this enormously critical, but challenging task. We are especially grateful to have the opportunity to highlight I&A's many collaborative efforts to deepen, strengthen, and expand this partnership between Federal, State, and local law enforcement and information-sharing officials. Secretary Napolitano reaffirmed her support for the fusion center program in her March 11 speech to close to 1,000 fusion center stakeholders convened from across the country at the National Fusion Center Conference in Kansas City. In her remarks, she stated ``I believe that fusion centers will be the centerpiece of State, local, and Federal intelligence sharing for the future and that the Department of Homeland Security will be working and aiming its programs to underlie fusion centers.'' Fusion centers are the core means by which we promote Federal, State, local, and Tribal information sharing. Today, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice recognize 70 fusion centers, including ones in every State and every major city of the United States. Nearly half of these centers have been stood up since 2006 and have grown rapidly in number and effectiveness. Many fusion centers are in their infancy and many infrastructure challenges remain, but the successes that the centers have realized thus far give us good reason for our continued support. The primary mission of fusion centers is information sharing. Just as Congress and the 9/11 Commission have recognized, information sharing is vital to protect the American people and our institutions. The success of the national network of fusion centers is crucial to the Department and to the States in achieving greater situational awareness toward the threats we face. Fusion centers are force multipliers. They leverage financial resources and the expertise of numerous public safety partners to increase information awareness and help our law enforcement agencies more effectively protect our communities. Thoughtful analysis about risks to our communities supports elected officials and homeland security leaders. This enables States and localities to better utilize limited financial resources to make effective, risk-based decisions about public safety matters and mitigate threats to the homeland. Fusion centers focus on empowering State, local, and Tribal governments, as well as feeding critical information back to Federal intelligence and law enforcement officials. Each fusion center has capabilities unique to the needs and requirements of the jurisdiction where it is located. The Federal Government is pleased to partner with the States and localities that own and operate fusion centers. I&A's relationship with the fusion centers is governed by Section 511 of Public Law 110-53, Implementing Recommendations of the 911 Commission Act of 2007 (the 911 Commission Act) which amended the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the National Strategy for Information Sharing, as well as the Department's internal Fusion Center Implementation Plan of 2006. I&A serves the fusion centers by providing infrastructure and analytical context to information. This ensures that there is a true two-way flow of information between States and localities and the Federal Government, and between law enforcement and the national intelligence community. I&A goes to great lengths to make sure fusion centers have the infrastructure tools, access to all necessary information, right Federal partners, and training. To ensure we effectively implement this charge, I&A established a State and Local Program Office (SLPO) to serve as the executive agent for Departmental engagement with fusion centers. As the executive agent, I&A provides support to fusion centers through personnel and system deployments, training and technical assistance, security clearance support, and intradepartmental coordination and outreach efforts on behalf of the national fusion center network. the department's role in fusion centers The Department is actively involved in enhancing the national network of fusion centers and is committed to accelerating the deployment of personnel and technology to fusion centers. To that end, we have deployed 34 Intelligence Operations Specialists who serve as a critical link between their fusion centers and the Department. We are hopeful that by the end of fiscal year 2010 we will have deployed an officer to each of the 70 designated fusion centers. Just recently, I&A shifted nearly 20 additional billets from headquarters to assignments at fusion centers. The deployment of DHS Intelligence Operations Specialists augments the analytical capabilities of the fusion centers. We believe this contributes greatly to the goal of achieving the analytic depth and geographic breadth necessary to effectively identify, provide context to and share vital information gleaned by sworn law enforcement officers and other State and local officials during the course of their daily duties. As fusion centers continue to mature, we expect to continue to grow the pool of analysts capable of connecting the dots and conducting information sharing and analysis in the manner intended by Congress. In addition to sharing Federal information with State, local, and Tribal entities, and sharing their information with Federal agencies, DHS analysts at fusion centers provide real-time situational awareness to the Secretary and the Department as well as all levels of government in times of crisis. Thanks in large part to your guidance and efforts within the Department, I&A's intelligence enterprise information management team has installed more than 30 Homeland Secure Data Network (HSDN) terminals, a SECRET-level collateral network, in fusion centers and will install HSDN terminals in all 70 fusion centers as soon as all security requirements are met. We purchase and operate the network for the fusion centers. Through these efforts, DHS ensures the protection of Federal information shared within these fusion centers. In addition to HSDN, I&A launched the Homeland Security State and Local Community of Interest (HS SLIC) about 1 year ago. HS SLIC is a ``virtual community'' of intelligence analysts from Federal, State, and local entities. Intelligence analysts collaborate via weekly threat conference calls, biweekly secure video teleconferences, analytic conferences, and a secure Web portal for intelligence information sharing at the controlled unclassified information (CUI) level, via HS SLIC. In January 2008, we strengthened our service relationship with fusion centers by establishing a ``Single Point of Service (SPS)'' program. This program brings together many DHS Intelligence and Operations elements to give local customers a 24-hour, one-stop shopping resource to request support, communicate product requirements, and share critical information with DHS and its components. The Department has consolidated tracking by standardizing all communications and queries in a single format--State and Local Support Request (SLSR)--which includes requests for information, production, administrative tasks, analysis, and a wide range of support functions. In the last quarter of 2008, the SPS team serviced 659 SLSRs from 36 States. We are strengthening core competency training programs for fusion center operations to make interactions with State, local, and Tribal entities even more effective. I&A training programs are designed to meet the intelligence training needs of our partners. We offer Critical Thinking and Analytical Methods (CTAM), Principals of Intelligence Writing and Briefing (PIWB), as well as the Analytic and Critical Thinking Skills Workshop training modules to our State and local partners. The CTAM and PIWB courses are currently available at DHS I&A, and are also being converted to a web-based format. All of the courses are tuition-free; grant funds may be applied to fund travel to all of these courses. The Department, via the FEMA National Preparedness Directorate (NPD) and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, offers services under the Fusion Process Technical Assistance Program to facilitate the development and operation of a national network of fusion centers. Part of the overall Technical Assistance Program managed by NPD, the Fusion Process technical assistance provides for 13 specific services available to fusion centers, including services to support the development and implementation of privacy policies, suspicious activity reporting, and the implementation of liaison officer programs. To date, the Fusion Process Technical Assistance Program has provided more than 145 services and more than 40 fusion center exchanges. In addition to the Technical Assistance services, the program has supported a host of national and regional workshops, fellowships, exchange opportunities, and on-line resources for fusion center personnel. DHS, along with the FBI, provides support by granting security clearances for eligible State and local partners, as well as support in other areas of security, including policy development and document storage and handling resources. Beyond this operational support, the Department is actively supporting fusion centers to form an association, as suggested by the House Homeland Security Committee last year, through which they can organize their efforts at a State-to-State level and serve as an advocacy body for the fusion center initiative. This association became a reality at the 2009 National Fusion Center Conference and has already created a list of concerns that is addressed in the challenges section below. The national conference in Kansas City and regional conferences are among the efforts we use to bring fusion center leaders and stakeholders together. Conferences allow participants to forge relationships, exchange best practices, learn how to build partnerships with their local communities and privacy and civil liberties advocates, and gain knowledge about new trends, tools, and technologies that can help fusion centers improve their analytic capabilities. enhancing federal support Our work toward a national, integrated network of State and major urban area fusion centers is defined by the National Strategy for Information Sharing. It states that ``a sustained federal partnership with . . . fusion centers is critical to the safety of our nation, and therefore a national priority.'' Our objective is to assist State and local governments in the establishment and sustained operation of fusion centers. The National Fusion Center Coordination Group (NFCCG) was established to coordinate the Federal Government's support to fusion centers. The NFCCG provides leadership, coordination, and guidance in the development and Federal support to the national integrated network of fusion centers. Co-chaired by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI in partnership with the Department of Justice, the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, the NFCCG is the interagency coordination mechanism used to assist Federal agencies in carrying out their responsibilities to implement effective policies related to fusion center support. protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of americans We take the commitment to respect and protect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of American citizens seriously. We partner with the DHS Privacy Office, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the Office of General Counsel to make sure that all of our efforts are consistent with our obligations to the American people. We require all I&A staff assigned to fusion centers to receive specific training and to have subject matter expertise on all relevant privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties issues. We do this as a matter of practice and as required by Section 511 of the 9/11 Commission Act. We are equally committed to ensuring that all those working at fusion centers are fully cognizant of their privacy and civil liberties obligations. In December 2008, the Department conducted and published both a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) and a Civil Liberties Impact Assessment (CLIA) for the Initiative. The PIA made a number of specific recommendations that fusion centers can implement to enhance privacy. These include completing their written Information Sharing Environment privacy protection policies, and creating governance structures and procedures to protect privacy and to understand and implement the set of privacy protections called the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs). These include protections related to data integrity, use limitation, data minimization, and others. Perhaps the most important recommendation in the PIA furthered the transparency principle; the DHS Privacy Office recommends that each fusion center conduct a PIA evaluating its own operations, make it available to the public, and then engage with its local communities. Once these documents and principles are in place, training becomes the centerpiece of ensuring that fusion centers adhere to their privacy and civil liberties policies. Accordingly, we provide specific training support and resources to fusion centers across the Nation, along with the DHS Privacy Office and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance. As a result of this partnership, we launched a Web site with resources for fusion center personnel on privacy and civil liberties issues. We have proactively worked with the DHS Privacy Office and the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties since the beginning of the program and consider our relationship with them to be among the closest and most productive in the Department. incorporating diverse partners Increasingly, fusion center operators see the benefits in a multi- disciplinary homeland security approach to information and intelligence sharing. Many are now seeking to include the fire, public health, and private sectors in the fusion process. This includes cybersecurity concerns which cut across Federal, State, local, Tribal and private sector partners. The Department is assisting fusion centers with this outreach by serving as a coordinating body for the fire, public health, and critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) efforts by identifying key players, facilitating discussions, and assisting with the development of a framework for sharing information/intelligence within critical infrastructure sectors. DHS aims to increase awareness of the fusion center program and existing information and intelligence sharing tools, assist the fire service and public health sectors with identifying their intelligence requirements, facilitate relationships among agencies/offices, and provide security clearances to appropriate members of private sector leadership. Tribal The Department regularly encourages Tribes to participate in or establish relationships with their nearest fusion center. The Department, through I&A, is working with Tribal law enforcement and homeland security advisors to engage them in information sharing, with particular emphasis on our relationship with the Tohono O'odham Nation (TON), given its international border location. Department officials also have met individually with senior representatives of the Navajo Nation, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Communication, and the Chickasaw Nation, among others. In February 2009, DHS, working in conjunction with the DOJ Office of Tribal Justice, launched the Homeland Security Information Network--Tribal (HSIN-Tribal). This secure Web site provides Federal and tribal homeland security professionals with an on-line site to share information, make announcements, and obtain news that will help them in their efforts to provide for safe and secure communities. I&A, in conjunction with the Department of the Interior (DOI), is working to create a Tribal/Terrorism Liaison Program for Law Enforcement Officials. This initiative includes a 3-day training program for Tribal law enforcement on the development of information- sharing practices with DHS and State and local fusion centers. To date the SLPO, with the assistance of the Director, Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Indian Affairs DOI, has nominated 16 Tribal Chiefs of Police and/or Emergency Managers for SECRET clearances. These efforts are sure to increase as a result of Secretary Napolitano's decision to institute the Department's first-ever consultation policy to engage the direct and interactive involvement of Indian Tribes in developing regulatory policies, recommending grant procedures for tribes, and advising on key issues. Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources DHS, in coordination with the Office of Infrastructure Protection and the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council, developed a capability appendix to the U.S. Department of Justice's Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative's (Global) Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers (baseline capabilities document). This baseline capabilities document defines the capabilities and standards necessary for a fusion center to be considered capable of performing basic functions (e.g., the gathering, processing, analyzing, and disseminating of terrorism, homeland security, and law enforcement information). The CIKR appendix provides guidance for those fusion centers that have chosen to support critical infrastructure protection activities; it identifies the additional capabilities fusion centers should achieve in order to effectively integrate CIKR activities into their analysis and information/intelligence sharing processes; and identifies how the center should support risk-reduction efforts taken by Federal, State, local, and private sector partners. The appendix encourages CIKR- related capabilities in fusion centers to be centered on the development of key analytical products, such as risk and trend analyses. In furtherance of this goal, I&A's SLPO is jointly sponsoring a workshop with the Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) and FEMA/NPD Technical Assistance Program to bring together stakeholders from the CIKR communities. This workshop is intended to provide a forum to identify and discuss the as-is State/local CIKR protection environment and current CIKR protection capabilities, as well as strategic considerations for State and urban area officials responsible for the development, implementation, and operation of a CIKR protection program. Participants will discuss information sharing and intelligence needs and best practices, and report on existing information sharing capabilities with, and within, the CIKR community. The workshop will provide support for the integration of CIKR protection efforts with on- going fusion center and information/intelligence sharing efforts. DHS/ IP is currently developing a NIPP Implementation Guide for State and local jurisdictions. This will support the practical considerations associated with the implementation of that guide. Emergency Management The SLPO is jointly sponsoring a series of workshops with the FEMA/ NPD Technical Assistance Program to be held in each of the 10 FEMA regions in order to discuss partnerships, roles, and responsibilities, and the processes by which operational hand-off and information exchange can and should occur during steady-state, forward-leaning and response activities. The focus of these workshops will vary as requirements and the strength of existing relationships dictate, but they will provide an opportunity for fusion centers to educate their Federal emergency management counterparts on existing capabilities, as well as better understand how to leverage FEMA regional resources. Fire Service We have developed a new Fire Service Intelligence Enterprise (FSIE) initiative to incorporate Fire Service interests (defined as fire and emergency operations, emergency medical service operations, rescue operations, hazardous materials operations, fire prevention/protection, fire investigation, incident management, and responder safety) into national standards, protocols, and mechanisms for homeland security information and intelligence sharing. The FSIE represents a collaborative initiative of several Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entities--the SLPO and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), with support from FEMA/NPD. FSIE goals are being pursued by promoting fire service integration within State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers, and by facilitating the identification and/or development of information and intelligence sharing requirements, mechanisms, technical assistance, and training. Activities performed to achieve these goals are being closely coordinated with other offices within DHS, other Federal agencies, and national, State, local, tribal, and territorial fire service organizations to ensure the initiative is pursued in an effective and efficient manner. We believe the FSIE will benefit the collective homeland security effort by enhancing the preparedness level of Fire Service organizations across the country, while supporting the prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts of all homeland security partners. Public Health The Health Security Intelligence Enterprise (HSIE) is an initiative to integrate Public Health and Healthcare Community (PH/HC) interests into the processes of homeland security information and intelligence exchange. The establishment of an institutionalized health security information and intelligence sharing framework will enhance the preparedness level of PH/HC practitioners across the country, while supporting the all-hazards approach to prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts of all homeland security partners. Federal, State, local, Tribal, and private sector stakeholders are working collaboratively to develop a framework to enhance sharing of health security information. This approach allows the HSIE initiative to best meet the needs of the PH/HC community and others who benefit from the enhanced information-sharing environment. These efforts will foster communication and collaboration among PH/HC organizations and between the PH/HC, the Federal homeland security and intelligence communities, and State, local, and tribal law enforcement and public health and safety stakeholders. The integration efforts with these DHS partners provide efficiencies and allow the Department to be represented in a user- friendly manner to State and local stakeholders. In many ways, the fusion center initiative, through the SLPO, has done more to integrate the Department than any other program. enabling fusion center success The ability of fusion centers to accomplish an all-crimes and all- hazards mission requires long-term investment. To date, there have been several fusion center success stories. One such success occurred in May 2008, when the DHS Intelligence Operational Specialist for Northern California coordinated with Federal officials on an Amber Alert for a 3-year-old child who was to be taken out of the United States by a suspect wanted for rape and murder. By coordinating with DHS officials, local law enforcement, and INTERPOL, the DHS Intelligence Operations Specialist was able to track the suspect and the kidnapped child to a flight bound for the Netherlands. With only hours to spare, the DHS Intelligence Operations Specialist coordinated with authorities to ensure law enforcement authorities in Amsterdam detained the subject. The child was recovered unharmed. In March 2007, the Denver Fire Department responded to seven cases of SUVs being firebombed. Investigators requested the Colorado Information Analysis Center's (CIAC) assistance in developing case information. The CIAC developed a report that included a description of the suspect's vehicle. Based on this report, the suspect in the crimes was arrested shortly thereafter keeping the community safe from additional fire hazards. These are just two examples of the difference that fusion centers are making each day in neighborhoods and communities across America. At DHS, we see the success of this network as vital to greater situational awareness of the risks facing our State, local, tribal, and territorial partners across the country. We have even seen how information developed by a fusion center can inform the President's Daily Brief and open investigations related to terrorism overseas. challenges Tremendous progress has been made in building the national fusion center network, but many challenges remain. Fusion center directors identified a series of challenges at the successful March National Fusion Center Conference. The following challenges were identified at this year's national conference by fusion center directors: Dissemination Providing timely, actionable information to the ``first preventers and first responders'' on the ground is critical to protecting the homeland. Many fusion centers maintain fusion center liaison programs that support their effort to more broadly disseminate Federal information to State and local law enforcement and homeland security partners. Expanding these liaison programs will facilitate even broader dissemination of critical homeland security information. The ineffective use of tear lines was a key dissemination issue highlighted by fusion center directors as an impediment to information sharing. We are committed to working with State and local partners to improve dissemination and provide the right products to the right people in a timely fashion. This would compliment tear line improvements for the private sector currently being undertaken by DHS and its intelligence community partners. Sustainment DHS recognizes that during this time of national economic austerity, fusion centers are looking to the Federal Government to provide increased, targeted support. Specifically, fusion center directors have requested direct funding for fusion centers. Outreach Fusion center directors seek more sustained and consistent outreach from Federal partners. To this end, DHS has developed and is beginning to implement a strategic communications and outreach advisory plan. In addition, the Department has begun to scope a technical assistance program to provide individual fusion centers with communications and outreach support. Through these efforts, fusion center stakeholders at all levels can speak with ``one voice'' about the mission, purpose, and value of the fusion center program. Data Interoperability Use of a common fusion center backbone/platform for information sharing has been recognized as key to better information sharing and collaboration. Fusion center directors indicated that leveraging framework of the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative could be beneficial in further standardizing use of technology across the fusion center network. the future of fusion centers As noted many times by you Chair Harman, and by Secretary Napolitano, fusion centers are a vibrant component of national security. We believe we are getting better at identifying and servicing fusion center needs. We take great pride in the results of the 2008 National Governors Association Center for Best Practices indicating more than 75 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with their communication with DHS. This is a significant increase over the 42 percent satisfaction rate reported in 2007. To continue to improve the fusion center initiative, Federal, State, local, Tribal, and territorial stakeholders have recognized the critical need for fusion centers to maintain a consistent level of baseline capabilities in order to operate as an integrated national network. In September 2008, the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers, an addendum to the Fusion Center Guidelines, was released by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative. The Baseline Capabilities document defines a set of capabilities that will support Federal, State, and local agencies to conduct long- term planning and identify the costs and resources necessary for the achievement and sustainment of fusion centers. It also supports the Federal Government's efforts to identify the types of resources needed by States and localities, and ensures they are provided in a consistent and appropriate manner. The capabilities also assist in ensuring that fusion centers have the basic foundational elements for integrating into the national Information Sharing Environment. Today, most fusion centers are in the process of achieving the capabilities. Since resources and priority mission areas vary from center to center, it is expected to take a period of up to 5 years for all fusion centers to years to achieve all of the capabilities. Some centers may not need to ``house'' all of these capabilities, but may choose instead to leverage another fusion center or other operational entity's capability. In closing, we recall Chair Harman's comments at last April's House Homeland Security Committee hearing that ``it is unlikely that the next President, DHS, the FBI, or the wider intelligence community will prevent the next terrorist attack. Instead, a diligent police or sheriffs' officer somewhere in America--during the course of his or her daily work--will see something or someone out of place, and guided by timely, accurate, and actionable information, will connect the dots that will unravel a plot in-the-making.'' We agree, and that is why we welcome a deeper partnership with this committee in making sure this is reality. Ms. Harman. Thank you, Mr. Riegle. Mr. Porter. STATEMENT OF RUSSELL M. PORTER, DIRECTOR, STATE OF IOWA INTELLIGENCE FUSION CENTER Mr. Porter. Chair Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, Members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for convening this hearing. You have my written statement, and the acknowledgements that are in it. I would like to just highlight, quickly, a couple of things from that. Then, Madam Chair, as you have encouraged, I would like to respond to the commentary that appeared today in the Washington Times. First of all, I addressed in my statement the potential promise that does currently show, and does exist, with fusion centers. Key stakeholders, like State homeland security directors are telling us that fusion centers have become vital resources for information sharing and coordination for them. They are not the only stakeholders that are saying that. That is evidenced by the survey of the National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices. We have also seen progress in the development of fusion center guidelines, and the baseline capabilities for State and major urban-area fusion centers. These provide a framework for fusion centers to move forward. In fact, at the National Fusion Center Conference, that was just held last month in Kansas City, the theme of the conference was, ``Achieving the Baseline Capabilities.'' Directors were encouraged--and actually came up with this on their own--to do a gap analysis of their own centers, against those baseline capabilities, so they can identify a way forward, and move toward progress, in a positive way. Finally, in terms of promise, fusion centers have become an analytic resource that are keeping communities safe and secure, helping governments prioritize their resource allocations, and support the efforts of State and local law enforcement to prevent and investigate crime in their local communities. I would say that, although, certainly, terrorism served as a catalyst for the fusion centers, this type of activity, Madam Chair, as you have pointed out, has existed for many, many years, in law enforcement agencies, as criminal intelligence work. This is simply a strengthening of that capability. The other area that I highlight in my written statement is the work that has been done to minimize the risk of the potential dangers. I emphasize the importance of protecting privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights. I do highlight within there the extensive work that was done, and has been done, and continues to be done, in providing training that Mr. Riegle has alluded to, as well, in terms of delivering training to fusion centers across the country. This was started in 2006, before there were even baseline capabilities. It was recognized as a central issue for fusion centers, and for the success of fusion centers, as well as for protecting the American public. There have been countless conversations; many, many meetings with privacy advocates, who have engaged in very thoughtful, respectful dialogue. We do appreciate very much the contributions that they are making and continue to make. There are missteps. There will continue to be that risk. We are currently working on developing the new training, and having development of those things that will help us address the issues that emerge as we move forward in this process. So that highlights my written testimony. You have that. Let me speak to Mr. Fein's commentary, if I may. I read with great interest, his commentary. I certainly respect, as a law enforcement officer, who takes an oath to support and uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States, his right to say and comment as he has. But I would point out a couple of things from his commentary. He notes that: ``Any dissidence or political dissident is suspect to fusion centers.'' I reject that assertion. He says that ``First Amendment principles will never be honored by law enforcement officers or public officials in the business of intelligence collection.'' I also reject that assertion. He characterizes and portrays fusion centers as un- American, referencing the Soviet Union's KGB, and, in East Germany, the Stasi, and says that, ``Fusion centers are no more American than was the House Un-American Activities Committee.'' The implication is that fusion centers and, by extension, the law enforcement officers and the public safety officials who risk their lives every day to protect their communities in this country, are un-American. He wants to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I wholeheartedly reject that approach. In fact, the delivery of privacy and civil liberties and civil rights training has been made possible precisely because there is a fusion center network, an audience that we can reach out to, to deliver this training. The opportunity for much of this dialogue to occur has come from the development of fusion centers, and from the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, about which this subcommittee has previously heard during an earlier hearing. Finally, sustaining a national integrated network of fusion centers will actually strengthen our collective ability to provide accountability and transparency, as Mr. Riegle has mentioned. This is an important point that must not be understated. I certainly respect the diverse views. But that is a response that I would have to Mr. Fein. Thank you. [The statement of Mr. Porter follows:] Prepared Statement of Russell M. Porter April 1, 2009 Chair Harman, Ranking Member McCaul, and Members of the subcommittee, thank you for convening this hearing today to focus on the future of fusion centers--critical resources for sharing information, preventing and solving crime (including terrorism), and making our communities, our States, and our Nation safer. I want to acknowledge the hard work of my many colleagues at all levels of government, but especially those at the local, Tribal, and State level with whom I work. I'm also especially pleased to appear today with this distinguished panel of witnesses. I appreciate this opportunity to discuss the future of fusion centers, highlighting some of their achievements thus far, the promise they hold, and the potential dangers that exist and may lie ahead. introduction I am presenting this statement as the Director of a State fusion center, as well as in my role as General Chairman of The Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU), the oldest professional association of its kind in the United States. Many agencies which operate or host fusion centers are members of LEIU. At the National Fusion Center Conference which convened last month in Kansas City, Missouri, fusion center directors asked LEIU to partner with them to help establish an association to represent fusion centers and the people who work in and with them. The work to build that association, as previously encouraged by the Chair of this subcommittee, is underway now. I am a veteran law enforcement officer who began my career as a municipal police officer in 1978. Since 1984 I have been continuously assigned full-time to the law enforcement intelligence discipline, and now hold the rank of Director at the Iowa Department of Public Safety where I report to the Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Iowa. While working full-time, I completed all coursework and comprehensive exams for the Ph.D., and was conducting dissertation research into law enforcement intelligence units when this country was attacked on September 11, 2001. At the national and international level, I have been elected by my peers and am now serving my second 2- year term as LEIU's General Chairman. I also currently serve as Chairman of the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC), and as Chairman of the Global Intelligence Working Group (GIWG) (part of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, a Federal Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of the United States). I am a member of the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG) Advisory Council; and of the Advisory Board for DHS's Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest (HS SLIC). Additionally, I currently serve on the National Fusion Center Coordination Group; the Police Investigative Operations Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); the Executive Advisory Board for the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA); and the Advisory Board for Michigan State University's Criminal Justice Intelligence Program. I previously participated in the monthly meetings of the U.S. Department of Justice Intelligence Coordinating Council at FBI Headquarters, and served as a Fusion Group Subject Matter Expert for the Intelligence and Information Sharing Working Group of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), and for the LLIS Intelligence Requirements Initiative. At the State level, I lead our State's fusion center, and serve as a member of the Executive Committee and the Operating Council for the Safeguard Iowa Partnership, a voluntary coalition of the State's business and Government leaders, who share a commitment to combining their efforts to prevent, protect, respond, and recover from catastrophic events in Iowa. I assisted with drafting the IACP's Criminal Intelligence Sharing: A National Plan for Intelligence-led Policing at the Local, State, and Federal Levels in 2002; Global's National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan in 2003; the HSAC's Homeland Security Intelligence and Information Fusion report in 2005; and the jointly-issued Global--DOJ--DHS Fusion Center Guidelines in 2006. Since the creation of the Global Intelligence Working Group in 2002 until my appointment as CICC and GIWG Chairman in December 2007, I served as the Chairman of the GIWG's Privacy and Civil Liberties Task Team. During the past several years I have worked closely with our Federal partners on the joint delivery of training and technical assistance, especially regarding privacy and civil liberties protections in fusion centers. In 2007 I was awarded the IALEIA President's Distinguished Service Award for demonstrated commitment to privacy and civil liberties protections, and in 2008 I received the IACP Civil Rights Award in the category of Individual Achievement for a ``consistent and vocal presence in law enforcement stressing the importance of protecting civil rights in policy, training, and ethical practice of the intelligence function.'' Finally, in March I served as Master of Ceremonies at the third National Fusion Center Conference in Kansas City--the second time I have served as the ``emcee'' for that national event. I only highlight my experience so that Members of the subcommittee will know that this statement is based on more than 30 years of real- life experience as a law enforcement officer, with more than 25 of those dedicated to the field of law enforcement intelligence--with involvement in the fusion center initiative since its inception. Because of the responsibilities associated with each of these roles and initiatives, I work closely and regularly not only with my local and State counterparts in fusion centers, but also with our Federal partners. We continue to receive support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and especially the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Grants Program Directorate and National Preparedness Directorate; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), with strong support received from the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Federal Bureau of Investigation through their National Security Branch; the Program Manager's Office of the Information Sharing Environment; and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Finally, much of the progress that has been made in establishing a national, integrated network of fusion centers is made possible by a collaboration of local, tribal, State, and Federal agencies who are part of the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global), the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council, and the Global Intelligence Working Group. These colleagues, as a community, commit countless hours of their time each day to improve information sharing in the United States. background As you know, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-53), enacted in August 2007, endorsed and formalized the development of a national network of State and major urban area fusion centers. Similarly, the National Strategy for Information Sharing released by the White House in October 2007 also describes fusion centers as ``a valuable information sharing resource,'' and as ``vital assets critical to sharing information.'' The Strategy further states, ``A sustained Federal partnership with State and major urban area fusion centers is critical to the safety of our Nation, and therefore a national priority.''\1\ As one recent report noted: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ The White House. 2007 (October). National Strategy for Information Sharing, p. A1-1, accessed September 21, 2008 at http:// www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/infosharing/NSIS_book.pdf. ``The potential value of fusion centers is clear: by integrating the various streams of information and intelligence from Federal, State, local, and tribal sources, as well as the private sector, a more accurate picture of risks to people, economic infrastructures and communities can be developed and translated into protective action.''\2\ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \2\ U.S. House of Representatives, Report 110-752, Report to Accompany H.R. 6098, Personnel Reimbursement for Intelligence Cooperation and Enhancement of Homeland Security Act. Accessed September 21, 2008 at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/ getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_reports&docid=f:hr752.110.pdf. As I have noted previously, in my experience fusion centers have emerged as what may be the most significant change in the structural landscape of criminal intelligence in at least the past 25 years. Much has been written in the past several years about fusion centers, and today I bring to you a practitioner's perspective. the future of fusion centers: potential promise and dangers The word ``promise'' has been said to mean, ``indication of future excellence, achievement, or success.'' On the other hand, the word ``danger'' can be defined as ``something that may cause injury, loss, or harm.'' I want to highlight how fusion centers are currently realizing some of their goals, how they offer significant promise for the future, and how continuing steps are being undertaken to prevent harm. Potential Promise Key stakeholders, such as State homeland security directors and advisors, have said that fusion centers have become vital resources for information sharing and coordination. Fusion centers are becoming more effective and efficient information sharing and collaboration mechanisms. Fusion centers receive information from a variety of sources, including Federal, State, and local entities, and ensure timely and relevant information is provided to the right stakeholders within their geographic area of responsibility. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices recently published the results of the 2008 Survey of State Homeland Security Directors--the fifth such survey they have conducted.\3\ The results show that fusion centers remain as one of the top five priorities for State homeland security directors. Three-quarters of the State homeland security directors actively and regularly engage with their State fusion center.\4\ Additionally, more than 60 percent of the directors use their fusion center as the primary method for sharing intelligence with DHS.\5\ Finally, the Federal Government uses fusion centers as the primary focal points within the State and local environment for the receipt and sharing of terrorism-related information. Federal agencies provide terrorism-related information to State, local, and Tribal authorities primarily through these fusion centers, which may further customize such information for dissemination to satisfy intra- or interstate needs. Thus, fusion centers are particularly important in providing information to important stakeholders (such as State homeland security directors, law enforcement, fire, public safety, emergency management, transportation, public health, and others), and to the Federal-State communication and coordination effort. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \3\ The survey targets members of the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC), which is comprised of the top homeland security directors as designated by each governor in all States, territories, and the District of Columbia. \4\ NGA Center for Best Practices Issue Brief: 2008 State Homeland Security Directors Survey, available at http://www.nga.org/Files/pdf/ 0903HSASURVEY.PDF, accessed March 29, 2009. \5\ Comparatively, according to the NGA survey, 17 percent of the State homeland security directors only engage their fusion center intermittently or when there are emergencies; only 17 percent of States use the DHS National Operations Center to share intelligence; and only 11 percent use local Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to share information with the Federal Government. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fusion Center Guidelines and Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Areas have been published, are actively being used to guide and mature the national fusion center network, and are being implemented by fusion centers during the next 5 years. In recent years Federal, State, local, Tribal and territorial stakeholders recognized the critical need for fusion centers to adhere to the same general guidance, and to maintain the same level of baseline capabilities in order to operate as an integrated national network. This has been accomplished by publishing the Fusion Center Guidelines and the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers-- both of which were developed by the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to State fusion center directors, more than 80 percent of State fusion centers comply with the Fusion Center Guidelines developed by the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.\6\ Additionally, with support from the partnership of local, State, Tribal, and Federal partners, fusion centers are working to achieve the fusion center baseline capabilities that were published in September 2008 in the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers. In fact, the theme for the 2009 National Fusion Center Conference held last month was ``Achieving the Baseline Capabilities.'' Although information on a wide range of baseline capabilities was presented, the conference focused on those baseline capabilities dealing with protecting privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights; outreach and communications; and analysis. Fusion center leaders attending the national conference were encouraged to assess their current capabilities, and then each day plenary and breakout sessions focused on steps they can take to achieve the baselines. Since resources and priority mission areas vary from center to center, it is expected to take a period of up to 5 years to achieve all of the capabilities. This on-going assessment of capabilities, and progress towards achieving them, will continue in the months ahead. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \6\ The survey targets members of the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC), which is comprised of the top homeland security directors as designated by each governor in all States, territories, and the District of Columbia. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fusion centers have become an analytic resource that keeps communities safe and secure, helps governments prioritize resource allocations, and supports the efforts of State and local law enforcement to prevent and investigate crime in their local communities. Jurisdictions with effective fusion center programs help citizens feel more safe and secure.\7\ The rapid flow of information associated with fusion centers has averted panic and unnecessary resource expenditures by quickly determining that a threat does not exist and preventing the needless evacuation of businesses and the disruption of commerce.\8\ This is critically important when, across the United States, State, local, and tribal law enforcement and homeland security officials are being asked to do more with less. Fusion centers offer a way to leverage financial resources and the expertise of public safety partners to more effectively protect our communities. Thoughtful analysis about risks to our communities helps elected officials and homeland security leaders better utilize limited financial resources to make effective decisions about public safety matters and threats to the homeland. Fusion centers have played a key role in assessing potential terrorism threats before massive holiday and sporting events, political conventions, and other occasions where large crowds gather,\9\ so that resources can be properly allocated. They assist in addressing our most pressing national challenges such as gangs, border violence, narcotics, homicides, natural disasters, and terrorism. More specifically, fusion centers have proven successful in preventing terrorism and in solving other local crimes--such as when a fusion center ``connects the dots'' from a drive-by shooting death to solve the murder of a furniture store manager occurring 3 months earlier,\10\ or identifies a series of attempted child abductions so that the community can be warned.\11\ These are not examples of ``mission creep,'' as some have described; rather, these are examples of local and State governments doing what they have always done: using resources in a coordinated way to protect the public from crime. In fact, in many cases fusion centers have always been ``all crimes'' centers, and have never been focused solely on terrorism. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- \7\ Anti-terrorism center offers reassurances against potential dangers, February 19, 2009, http://www.lvrj.com/news/39837512.html, accessed March 29, 2009. \8\ Metro's Fusion Center Works to Solve Local Crimes, Threats, July 1, 2008, http://www.lasvegasnow.com/global/story.asp?s=8588286, accessed March 29, 2009. \9\ Fight over, all together now against terrorism; ``Fusion center'' puts agencies under one roof, January 22, 2008, http:// www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/jan/22/fight-over-all-together-now- against-terrorism/, accessed March 29, 2009. \10\ Metro's Fusion Center Works to Solve Local Crimes, Threats, July 1, 2008, http://www.lasvegasnow.com/global/story.asp?s=8588286, accessed March 29, 2009. \11\ Series of Attempted Child Abduction Incidents Being Investigated in Central Iowa, DPS Press Release, June 18, 2008, http:// www.dps.state.ia.us/commis/pib/Releases/2008/06-18- 2008_AbductionRelease.htm, accessed March 29, 2009. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- These are just a few of the examples highlighting some of the reasons that fusion centers, when provided with resources, training, technical assistance, guidelines, and policy documents, and other support, are vital assets which are critical to sharing information and keeping our communities, our States, and our Nation safe. Compiling additional information that demonstrates and measures the value of fusion centers and the promise they hold for the future is currently underway. Potential Dangers While there are certain risks inherent with information gathering and sharing, on-going efforts to proactively address these potential pitfalls actually signify a promise that best practices can become reality. What follows is a description of some of the work completed to date. If we fail to continue to make the protection of privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights a top priority, the fusion center network will not be sustainable. This important work will be an on-going challenge that requires continued refinement of training, technical assistance, and other support as we go forward. But the good news is that the State, local, Tribal, and Federal partners that have been leading this effort, as well as fusion centers themselves, have been making these issues a top priority. Certainly there is more to do. But as fusion centers have emerged, a coordinated--and unprecedented-- effort has been initiated to provide training and technical assistance that is protecting privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights. In fact, the delivery of this training and technical assistance is made possible precisely because there is a national network of fusion centers, and due to the good work of the partners involved. The following provides a summary of some of the work undertaken with fusion centers thus far, to establish a solid foundation for protecting privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights: