Barletta Bill Would Improve Coordination, Communication to Fight Terrorism
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) has reintroduced legislation designed to improve the cooperation of federal, state, and local agencies in detecting, preventing, and responding to terrorist or criminal threats. The bill, the Fusion Center Enhancement Act, would clarify and enhance the partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the national network of fusion centers. A fusion center is a collaborative effort of two or more agencies, including federal, state, and local entities, which share resources and information regarding terrorist or criminal activity. Barletta previously introduced the legislation in the 114th Congress, when the bill passed the House of Representatives but was not considered by the Senate.
“As a former mayor, I know the importance of sharing information between local, state, and federal agencies,” Barletta said. “I have seen this problem firsthand, and know that more can be done to help our local law enforcement get the support they need from the federal government. This bill is one small step to make the fusion centers a better resource for the people who know our communities the best, our local law enforcement officers.”
The bill improves fusion centers by:
- Directing DHS to make sure its components are providing information and personnel to fusion centers to better cooperate with state and local officials.
- Requiring DHS to coordinate with fusion centers and State Homeland Security Advisors in carrying out assigned responsibilities.
- Requiring DHS to submit a report to Congress on its efforts to meet these requirements.
“Making sure that state and local law enforcement, fire, medical, and other emergency personnel have the necessary resources is a critical part of our homeland security strategy,” Barletta said. “This includes better access to information and intelligence. That’s what fusion centers are designed to accomplish.”