House Passes Barletta Bill to Enhance Fusion Centers, Improve Public Safety Communication

Jan 31, 2017
Press Release
Requires DHS to Coordinate with State & Local Authorities to Fight Terrorism & Crime

Click here or on photo for video of Rep. Barletta supporting his

Fusion Center Enhancement Act on the House floor.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today successfully guided to passage his legislation 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, H.R. 642, clarifies and enhances 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.  The bill passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote.  Barletta also had introduced the legislation in the 114th Congress, when the bill also passed the House of Representatives by voice vote, but was not considered by the Senate.

“After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, State and local governments created fusion centers as a way to communicate Federal homeland security information to State and local law enforcement officials, as well as fuse State and locally collected information with Federal intelligence,” Barletta said.  “As a Member of the Homeland Security Committee and a former mayor, I have heard concerns raised by law enforcement in my district and elsewhere about the lack of information and coordination.    This bill adds important requirements and accountability in how the Department of Homeland Security interacts and shares information.”

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.

Barletta singled out the work already being done by a fusion center in Pennsylvania, the PA Criminal Intelligence Center (PACIC), which is operated by the State Police.  In 2015, PACIC received the Fusion Center of the Year Award from the National Fusion Center Association.  Barletta extended his congratulations to the men and women of PACIC for their commitment to security and public safety. 

“PACIC provides intelligence and information products to over twelve hundred local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies, while also working with over six thousand private and public center partners to also share information to help protect critical infrastructures and key resources,” Barletta said.  “A significant amount of progress has been made by States and fusion centers within the National Network to improve information sharing and analytic support.  Many centers, including PACIC, provide all crime, all hazard support.  This bill recognizes the progress and focuses on enhancing DHS’s responsibility to support, share information, and coordinate with fusion centers.”