State Fusion Centers: Their Effectiveness in Information Sharing & Intelligence Analysis

State Fusion Centers: Their Effectiveness in Information Sharing & Intelligence Analysis

State Fusion Centers: Their Effectiveness in Information Sharing & Intelligence Analysis

State Fusion Centers: Their Effectiveness in Information Sharing & Intelligence Analysis

Synopsis

The 9/11 Commission investigating the September 11, 2001, attacks concluded that the nation's intelligence community had failed to "connect the dots" thus ushering in the era of homeland security. As a result state and local fusion centers emerged; however, there is little research available addressing either their activities or effectiveness. Joyal explores these and related issues. Drawing upon the perceptions of those working in and closely with state fusion centers, particularly law enforcement, it appears that fusion centers are successful in improving law enforcement's ability to collect and share information; however, they continue to struggle with several challenges, namely developing robust analytical capabilities and overcoming persistent subcultural obstacles.

Excerpt

Although an oversimplification, the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks changed everything. However, the challenge lies in interpreting “everything” into literal, tangible, and measurable terms. What constitutes everything? Was this change truly significant and how do we know? While these general questions cannot be addressed thoroughly in a single exercise, nor should they, they do imply that even a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, experts continue to define what really has changed and whether we are safer because of these changes.

To say that nothing has changed and that 9/11 did not greatly influence the United States, or the rest of the world for that matter, would be careless and outright untrue. At the very least, 9/11 changed how we think about abstract concepts, like security and risk. Since the 9/11 attacks, a few details are unquestionable. The attacks were catastrophic; the most costly terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil or anywhere else for that matter (Looney, 2002). The attacks also reinforced that the threat of terrorism, like the threat of crime, is not restricted geographically or temporally.

In a post-9/11 environment, it is widely believed that terrorismrelated threats, as other threats, while less probable, can happen anywhere at anytime, and those people and places in closest proximity to a threat, manmade or natural, are at the greatest chance of exposure than those farther removed (LaFree, Yang and Crenshaw, 2010). As such, all potential first-responders and the more newly minted firstpreventers should be properly equipped and prepared to deal with a wide range of threats—a principle that has reverberated in the post-9/11 . . .

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