Fusion Centers Are Facing Budgetary Uncertainities, Turf Wars


Budgetary uncertainty, turf wars, and competing priorities are plaguing the nation’s expanding network of state and regional intelligence fusion centers, reports Security Management magazine. “For me, a fusion center success story may be, I go home happy that Bill and Steve didn't punch each other in that meeting,” FBI agent Matthew Drake of the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center told a conference at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a national security think tank.

The most pressing challenge facing many fusion centers is money, said Kerry Sleeper of the Office of the Program Manager-Information Sharing Environment. Because no two fusion centers are alike, their budgets vary dramatically from $300,000 to $8 million. While most centers rely on a complex mix of funding mechanisms, most are heavily dependent on federal funding. The centers exist on year-to-year grants, complicating long-term investment decisions. “It is concerning to us when it's hard to plan more than a year out at a time,” said the FBI’s Drake. “Do we buy a plotter if next year we can't afford toner. Sounds silly, but that's the type of discussions we have.”

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