The present memo addresses homeland security issues, pertaining to the jurisdiction of the Seattle-headquartered Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC). This entity was formed as a response to the failures of September 11 attack and became a platform for operational partnerships that are focused on collecting, interpreting, disseminating, and investigating critical informational data. As a part of the National Strategy for Information Sharing, this initiative is authorized to receive, process, analyze, and allocate sensitive, criminal and ominous information by engaging in local partnerships. As one of the primary fusion centers, its broader powers include hosting and coordinating “critical operational capabilities” during statewide response operations, such as human resources, IT equipment, and connectivity codes to access federal databases (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2015).
This jurisdiction performs as a state-level fusion center. On the one hand, it is a master-mind and a governing element of statewide law enforcement network, incorporating local functional experts in all fields of national security environment. Its principal partners are the Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Task Force, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Seattle Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Seattle Police Department, Seattle Field Intelligence Group, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU), the FBI Seattle Division Cyber Task Force, the North-Central Sound Child Exploitation Task Force, the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force, the SEPROM Task Force, and the Seattle Fire Department. On the other hand, the jurisdiction belongs to the federal task-group and channels federal resources to support stale-level and municipal initiatives. The platforms used to facilitate interagency collaboration are meetings, conference calls, as well as software/hardware solutions. Every piece of technological innovation is utilized by local HS practitioners to achieve information and intelligence sharing (Washington State Fusion Center, 2009).
The mission scope of the Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC) encompasses all crimes and hazards, including terrorism. The fusion center achieves the mission scope by checking information, identifying potential threats, verifying their sources, deterring performance capabilities of offenders, and intervening to arrest terrorist attacks and major crimes. This fusion center excels the jurisdiction, budget, and functional limitations of its members. It uses consolidated material resources to design and implement timely, comprehensive and adequate “preparation, planning, response, and recovery” initiatives. It can evade the red-tape barriers, privacy concerns, access restraints, and staff deficit that traditionally undermined the efficiency of the isolated law enforcement agencies. It furnishes broad, high-quality, just-in-time, well-judged, and credible analytics, which have been otherwise unobtainable by the federal, state, and private entities, stumbling at issues of homeland security. As all state and major urban area fusion centers, the scope of activity and mission of the Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC) was designed by the Washington State governor. According to the Federal Resource Allocation Criteria (RAC) policy, the federal government is committed to respecting these decisions and priorities, as well as supplying resources, required to ensure compliance with the targeted obligations. Being joint owners and commanders of this agency, the state and federal authorities share mutual responsibility for its performance (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2015).
Operationally, the Situational Awareness and Watch Center (SAWC) is the lead agency for the fusion center (Washington State Fusion Center, 2009). It consolidates the efforts of prominent DHS and FBI specialists. Other agencies also provide direct support. The Puget Sound Joint Terrorism Task Force supplies part-time staff on the long-term basis to work on cases related to global and homeland terrorism. The Seattle Police Department provides human resources, field intelligence, and updates to criminal database. The Seattle Field Intelligence Group and the Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU) are the headquarters of high-skilled analysts, which handle all kinds of information, related to different subjects, and coming from all law enforcement agencies. The FBI Seattle Division Cyber Task Force focuses on domestic threats, looming from the field of innovative technologies, global informational network, and cybercrime. The North-Central Sound Child Exploitation Task Force has a priority focus on crimes that involve children. It closely operates with the national and international networks, consolidating agencies proficient in this particular field. The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force unites efforts of public and private organizations, fighting against gang activity in the area. The Seattle Fire Department delivers initial response during all accidents and natural disasters. This agency is responsible for primary collection of real-time data, its assessment, and transfer to relevant partners. Its specialists represent a multi-tasked force, participating in all joint operations (Hagen, 2006, pp. 73-91). The Situational Awareness and Watch Center (SAWC) at WSFC is operational at all times, excluding weekends and public holidays. During this time, its function is limited to the collection of incoming calls via hotline call centers. All reports are stored and directed for the subsequent review. In turn, urgent reports are directly sent to the WSFC Supervisor. The fusion center is staffed, according to the specific requirements of its current tasks. The funding sources for the fusion center come from federal and state budgets (Washington State Fusion Center, 2009).
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The non-law enforcement agencies are engaged in the form of complimentary sources of information that require substantial verification. In a greater degree, they perform a dependent role. These entities receive quality information and intelligence via official media reports and written documents, available for public review at the Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC) website.
The following types of documents are produced: bulletins, threat assessments, advice enquiries, requests for information, and officer safety bulletins. In addition, such services as briefings, tours, investigatory assistance, and training are provided. These products are distributed to managers, superiors, and relevant specialists at WSFC, as well as its member organizations.
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