Fixing Fusion Center Intelligence Under the ODNI
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Created as a result of the need for increased national security and information sharing in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, fusion centers are in a unique position to promote homeland security cooperation and partnership between the federal, regional, state, local, and tribal levels. The National Network of Fusion Centers is the Department of Homeland Security’s primary conduit for information sharing at all levels of the government and is comprised of 78 state, local, and tribal cells that developed independently and spontaneously, and as a result, are at different levels of maturation. While the uniqueness of each of these cells has been championed by the government as a custom-tailored fit to the unique needs of each state or locality, the residual effects of their lack of integration and common framework creates widespread inefficiencies that could be resolved with more engagement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to direct oversight and enterprise capacity, mission integration, national security partnerships, and strategy and engagement. This paper will analyze some of the key National Network inefficiencies with regards to overall National Network strategy, intelligence effectiveness, vertical and horizontal collaboration, and accountability and oversight, and how the ODNI could address these issues according to their structural organization and past successes within the intelligence community (IC).