Fusion centers carry on, as DHS looks to measure their value

New center in Ohio opens; Nebraska center awards info-sharing services contract

As the federal government struggles to measure the contributions of state fusion centers, the centers continue to spread.

Ohio opened its new Strategic Analysis and Information Center late last month, and in Nebraska, officials just awarded a contact for IT services for its new Nebraska Information and Analysis Center.

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The Ohio center will share space with the Columbus Police Terrorism Early Warning Group, the federal Homeland Security Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and a component of the Cincinnati Division of the FBI. Like other fusion centers, it's designed to let various agencies share information about potential terrorist threats.

Nebraska’s center this week awarded a contract to Memex to provide information sharing services for law enforcement agencies throughout the state, including linking 17 data sources.

As of July 2009, there were 72 state and local fusion centers throughout the country, built with more than $426 million from the federal government.

However, a Government Accountability Office report released last month said DHS doesn't have a standard method of measuring results, which GAO says is important to justify continued funding for the centers.

“If fusion centers are to receive continued financial support, it is important that centers demonstrate they are providing critical information that is helping the federal government protect against homeland security and terrorist threats through a set of performance measures,” the report states.

GAO recommended that DHS define its performance measures, which DHS agreed to do.


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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