State and regional intelligence fusion centers (IFCs) typically operate quietly and out of the public eye, and when they do make news it’s often related to local controversies over privacy and civil liberties. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano spent a fair amount of time talking about fusion centers at a recent congressional hearing, so we thought it would be an opportune time to take a look at some of the less controversial happenings at selected IFCs around the U.S. in recent months.
As Secretary Napolitano noted in her September 22nd testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, there are 72 fusion centers in operation today.
That list will soon grow a bit longer with the addition of two new centers. In Texas on May 28th, the Austin City Council gave the green light for the Austin Regional Intelligence Center (ARIC), involving 10 public safety agencies in three Texas counties.
In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, a new $20-million regional fusion center (rendering, right) is being slated for construction starting next year. The Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC) will “coordinate street-level intelligence nationally and among 11 counties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland,” according to a June 10th report in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Based in an old Army complex in South Philadelphia, the DVIC will house the Philadelphia Police Department’s criminal intelligence and homeland security units, and between 40 and 50 officers, the paper reported. (DVIC rendering courtesy of design services firm L.R. Kimball.)
Training and education of personnel are perennial activities for all IFCs. Now, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) at the Naval Postgraduate School has launched a pilot executive-level educational program for fusion center directors. The inaugural session of the Fusion Centers Leaders Program (FCLP) took place June 21-25.
Intelligence Liaison Officer (ILO) training courses are also offered, in facilities like the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center (MIOC) and elsewhere. For example, the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center (pictured, right) held a day-long ILO training seminar in Frankfort in late July in which more than 100 ILOs took part. (The KIFC has also opened a telephone hotline so that residents can report suspicious or criminal activity.)
In another leadership development, the Iowa Intelligence Fusion Center swore in its new director on July 15th. James Saunders replaces longtime Director Russell Porter, who has been appointed to a position with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Porter, it may be remembered, gave a detailed interview to The Iowa Independent two years ago in which he discussed the Iowa IFC’s focus and operations – and dealt forthrightly with the center’s budget woes and the public’s civil liberties concerns.
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