Our nation faces an evolving threat environment, in which threats emanate not only from outside our borders but also from within our communities. This new environment demonstrates the critical role State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers have in supporting the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal and state, local, tribal, and territorial, and private sector partners.
Fusion centers are uniquely situated to empower frontline law enforcement, public safety, fire service, emergency response, public health, and private sector security personnel to understand local implications of national intelligence, thus enabling local officials to better protect their communities. Fusion centers provide multidisciplinary expertise and situational awareness to inform decision making at all levels of government. They conduct analysis and facilitate information sharing while assisting law enforcement and homeland security partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism.
In 2010, Fusion Center directors, in partnership with the federal government, distilled the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers into priorities, including four Critical Operational Capabilities:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a web site to share information on state and major urban area fusion centers. This website, http://www.dhs.gov/fusioncenters, includes relevant overviews and fact sheets related to fusion centers.
The Rhode Island State Fusion Center was founded in 2005 following the identification of intelligence shortfalls after 9/11. The Fusion Center, which is under the command of a Rhode Island State Police Lieutenant, is staffed by four intelligence analysts, an intelligence officer from the Department of Homeland Security, and sworn members of the Rhode Island State Police.
The Fusion Center was established to investigate potential terrorist activity, as well as to facilitate the dissemination of the intelligence information to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The scope of the Fusion Center has expanded to include the investigation of all criminal activity.
The Mission of the Rhode Island State Fusion Center is to facilitate the efficient, timely, and accurate exchange of information between local, state, and federal public safety agencies and private sector organizations. Through a cooperative and coordinated approach, the Fusion Center will augment law enforcement operations by acting as a centralized, comprehensive criminal intelligence center to coordinate the exchange of criminal information on a statewide basis. The Rhode Island Fusion Center will collect, analyze and disseminate intelligence information in an effort to identify, investigate, and prevent criminal activity relevant to terrorism and public safety. Those assigned to the Fusion Center actively investigate all information and leads received that could be associated with terrorist activity or may pose a threat to Homeland Security.