I figure we might as well go to the horse’s mouth. This is what the TSA’s official site tells us about fusion centers.
Notice this phrase: “terrorism, crime, and other threats.”
Other threats. Yes.
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National Network of Fusion Centers
State and major urban area fusion centers (fusion centers) serve as focal points within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal government and state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT) and private sector partners. . . .
Fusion centers are owned and operated by state and local entities with support from federal partners in the form of deployed personnel, training, technical assistance, exercise support, security clearances, connectivity to federal systems, technology, and grant funding. . . .
The national security enterprise must reach beyond the capabilities of the federal government and national Intelligence Community to identify and warn about impending plots that could impact the homeland, particularly when the individuals responsible for the threats operate within the United States and do not travel or communicate with others overseas. By building trusted relationships and collaborating with SLTT and private sector partners, fusion centers can gather and share the information necessary to pursue and disrupt activities that may be indicators of, or potential precursors to, terrorist activity. With timely, accurate information on potential terrorist threats, fusion centers can directly contribute to and inform investigations initiated and conducted by federal entities, such as the Joint Terrorism Task Forces led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the 2010 National Security Strategy (PDF, 60 pages – 1.52 MB), the federal government must continue to integrate and leverage fusion centers to enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities to prevent acts of terrorism on American soil. Efforts to protect the homeland require the timely gathering, analysis, and sharing of threat-related information. Fusion centers provide a mechanism through which the federal government, SLTT, and private sector partners come together to accomplish this purpose. Beginning in 2003, the federal government, in cooperation with state and local entities, published guidance to enable fusion centers to operate at a baseline level of capability and to form a robust and fully integrated National Network. The National Network allows the federal government, SLTT, and private sector partners to participate as full contributors to, and beneficiaries of, the homeland security enterprise.
This strategic vision can be realized only when fusion centers demonstrate institutionalized levels of capability that enable efficient and effective information sharing and analysis across the National Network. This will help link the federal government with SLTT and private sector entities to more effectively share information. Given the evolving threat environment, it is vital that fusion centers quickly achieve their roles, as explained in the National Strategy for Information Sharing (NSIS), as the focal points within the SLTT environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat‐related information. . . .
Through its long-standing partnership with the Department of Justice, the Department has conducted more than 300 training and technical assistance deliveries, workshops, and exchanges on topics including risk analysis, security, and privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties since 2007. By providing these resources, the Department supports fusion centers to address some of the nation’s most significant homeland security challenges. . . .
The Department is working closely with the Department of Justice-led Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative Program Management Office to establish a standard process to identify and report suspicious activity in jurisdictions across the country. . . .
Under the leadership of I&A, the Department has made it a priority to participate in and support the implementation of the NSI while also integrating SAR processes across the National Network of Fusion Centers. The integration of NSI within both the Department and the fusion centers is a key element of fusion center outreach to law enforcement at all levels of government.
The Department has also launched the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign in order to engage the public to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime, and other threats.