Nanny State: Fusion center approach could be effective in other areas

30 September 2009

Fusion center approach could be effective in other areas

Common data formats could enable sharing data of everything from bridge sensors to business reporting

* By Shawn McCarthy
* Sep 28, 2009

Despite some documented shortcomings, fusion centers have worked fairly well for homeland security issues -- so much so that maybe it's time to extend the concept to other civilian uses. The fusion center idea could even be applied to government functions that aren't security related, but which need real-time delivery of data and detailed analysis tools to make sense of the incoming data.

Homeland security fusion centers were suggested as part of a National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan issued by the Justice Department in 2003. The concept quickly spread across multiple security and justice-related agencies as they worked to import multiple data sources for analysis.

Today, more than 70 fusion centers have been set up across multiple security-related agencies. The centers serve as terrorism prevention resources and function as information sharing hubs -- gathering, digesting and comparing data from both government and private-sector resources. In the process, the centers also promote data sharing between federal, state and local government offices, the military and intelligence agencies.

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