Some of the nation’s 72 fusion centers–where federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies share data on terrorism and crime threats–may face budget problems in the nation’s tough economic conditions. Ross Ashley of the National Fusion Center Association, which represents the centers, says that some newly elected governors must be convinced of the centers’ worth. The agencies typically do not have line-item budgets and are dependent on allocations from various levels of government to operate.
Speaking to representatives of criminal-justice organizations meeting in Washington, D.C., Ashley said that fusion centers are such a new concept that there still is a debate on how many there should be. Each state has one and there are 22 additional centers operating in metropolitan urban areas. The group is hiring a lobbying firm tohelp insure that the centers can obtain “sustained funding,” Ashley said. He noted that the more time elapses since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, some governors may put less of a priority on homeland security, especially if they face a budget crisis.