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

By Renee Graphia Joyal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Conclusions & Discussion

While fusion centers have been operational to varying degrees for some years now, there has been very little research examining whether they are fulfilling their expected functions, and if so how effectively. A broad range of topics regarding fusion centers purposes and activities, have been reviewed in this book. The findings to emerge cover substantial ground, some of which reaffirm prior claims and assumptions and others that warrant further investigation. The study’s subjects were probed regarding perceived changes that have been occurring within the law enforcement community regarding information sharing and analysis since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the slow establishment and implementation of fusion centers. Participants were also questioned regarding their perceptions of whether fusion centers are fulfilling their intended functions and if they believe that fusion centers are doing so effectively. The participant’s responses collectively indicated that there is no single answer; rather, ‘partially,’ ‘sometimes,’ and ‘it depends’ are more fitting than definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

Such ambiguity is unsurprising for several reasons. Fusion centers are relatively new entities with no central authority; thus, fusion centers are still trying to develop their core capabilities, search for their organizational identities, and to build their credibility with their constituencies. Similarly, the subfederal community is still finding its voice. It was not until 2009 that the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA) was established to represent the interests of fusion centers through support, coordination, and advocacy. Second, there is considerable variation between fusion centers, and rightfully so to some degree. They should be developing their services and capabilities in

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