Legislation aims to boost accountability, collaboration of DHS fusion centers
Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday aims to improve information sharing and engagement among the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) fusion centers, which collect and share information on threats with federal, state, local and private partners.
The DHS Field Engagement Accountability Act would also require that a system be developed to gather metrics to measure the progress of fusion centers and to hold field personnel from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis accountable for their performance at fusion centers.
U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) introduced the bipartisan bill with original cosponsors U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI) Clay Higgins (R-LA), John Katko (R-NY), and Bill Keating (D-MA).
“Ensuring the Department of Homeland Security has an agency-wide strategy for engagement with fusion centers will provide necessary support to our state and local law enforcement in their efforts to combat the evolving terrorism threat and keep pace with emerging homeland security issues,” Bacon said.
The bill would also require additional training and enhancements for the handling of classified and unclassified information sharing systems at fusion centers would also be required.
“Our country’s 79 fusion centers, including one in Lincoln, Nebraska, facilitate critical information sharing and coordination between our country’s first responders and the federal government,” Bacon said. “This bill will ensure that DHS enhances its support to all fusion centers and fully leverages their capabilities in the department’s missions.”