DHS fusion centers to see improvement

A report released Thursday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs said that while the support is there for information-sharing operations, funding is not.

Federal fusion centers are institutions meant to track and prevent criminal or terrorist activity. They are run by state and local agencies that utilize federal resources to aid in that mission. The Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) said the fusion centers were operating at an average score of 92 out of 100 points in 2013. The GAO report called for continued support of the centers, but also suggested implementing better and clearer guidance on operations and personnel.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the top agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in terms of grant acquisition, struggled to track funding, leading to approximately $60 million that was mismanaged. FEMA is reworking guidelines to grantees to better fund the centers.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate committee, praised the agencies' efforts to better their situation, but urged continued work.

"The department must get a program off the ground to better test and evaluate fusion centers’ performance so that we can see how effective they would be in the event of an emergency," Carper said. "It also needs to put into place a better method of tracking funding so we can better assess how much the federal government spends to keep these critical centers operational without wasting taxpayer dollars.”

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security

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