P/CRCL Officers will find that recent U.S. Congressional Committee and Subcommittee activities often provide useful insights through hearings, key reports, and legislation on fusion center and p/crcl-related issues. There are over 100 Committees, Subcommittees, and caucuses with jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security. However, four U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Committees and two Subcommittees have direct jurisdiction over the topics most likely to be of interest to the fusion center network and the ISE.

Senate Committees

House Committees

Selected Reports from the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

The committee covers, among other topics, the Department of Homeland Security, which includes issues related to fusion centers(but does not include matters relating to: the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or the Secret Service). The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (2pp | 36kb | PDF) studies and oversees the activities of agencies, programs, and partners who operate under the jurisdiction of the full Senate Committee.

In October 2012, the Subcommittee issued a report following a two-year, nationwide review of fusion centers covering April 2009- Aril 2010. The Subcommittee report reviewed federal funding, federal support in the form of personnel and systems, quality of intelligence reporting, use of meaningful assessments. Full Report: Federal Support for and Involvement in State and Local Fusion Centers (October, 2012) (141pp | 3.50mb | PDF)

The U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

This committee oversees and investigates the intelligence activities of the U.S. government, submits legislative recommendations to the Senate, and keeps the Senate abreast of pertinent Committee findings and the status of various intelligence programs.

"A major focus of the Committee's oversight agenda is the review of existing intelligence programs and proposed legislation to ensure that U.S. person privacy rights and civil liberties are not compromised during the collection of intelligence information... During the course of the 112th Congress, the Committee held numerous hearings, briefings, and meetings on a broad range of activities and programs performed by the seventeen elements of the Intelligence Community."

– S. Rpt. 113-7, Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, Covering the Period January 5, 2011 to January 3, 2013 1 (March 22, 2013) (36 pp. l 328 KB l PDF)

The U. S. House Committee on Homeland Security

The committee oversees the operations of the Department of Homeland Security, primarily through hearings and investigations. The Committee also recommends legislation to Congress and serves as the Congressional arbiter on the status of U.S. homeland security programs and initiatives.

"State and major urban area fusion centers are the primary point for receiving, analyzing, and sharing terrorist threat-related information among Federal, State, local, and tribal partners. Information sharing, cooperation, and collaboration across the intelligence and law enforcement communities at all levels are essential to preventing and responding to terrorist attacks… Going forward, the Committee will continue its rigorous oversight of the national fusion center network, including how well the Department of Homeland Security is fulfilling its mandate to coordinate across the entire Federal government." U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security homepage, "Issues, Information Sharing and State and Local Fusion Centers".

Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence supervises and evaluates U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence programs, holds hearings to assess various threats to U.S. homeland security, and makes legislative recommendations to improve U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence programs, including the intelligence gathering function of fusion centers.

"Protecting the nation is a shared responsibility in which the Federal government benefits from a robust information sharing infrastructure with state and local partners. These partners similarly benefit from the collaborative environment established within the fusion centers through their analysis of the national threat picture and the provision of products that are developed and tailored using local context to support the implementation of information-driven community-based solutions by local officials."

– Testimony of Scott McAllister, Deputy Under Secretary, State and Local Program Office, Office of Intelligence and Analysis and Dr. Huban A. Gowadia, Acting Director, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Department of Homeland Security, Before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, "Counterterrorism Efforts to Combat a CBRN Attack on the Homeland," April 25, 2013 (10pp | 82.3kb | PDF)

The U. S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

The committee reviews the operations of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which includes 17 government agencies and departments, or the intelligence-related component thereof. The Select Committee also drafts and recommends intelligence-specific legislation for debate in the Senate.

"DHS' place in the US intelligence architecture has been a topic of congressional oversight since its creation and remains a work in progress without final resolution… It now makes sense to step back from daily oversight and consider the pros and cons of expansion of the DHS intelligence mission to other areas, such as cybersecurity… The question is not just what DHS Intelligence should do in the future, but whether DHS is able to do."

–Statement of Ranking Member, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-01), House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis, and Counterintelligence, Hearing: "Intelligence Role of the Department of Homeland Security" (Jun. 18, 2012). (4 pp | 30kb | PDF)

The six Committees and Subcommittees with direct jurisdiction over fusion centers — as well as several committees with jurisdiction over portions of programs and issues—investigate, share information, and in some cases make recommendations for fusion centers through committee reports and hearings. For germane examples of prior Committee and Subcommittee reports and hearings, see the Pertinent Committee Guidance page.

Source: The DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS Privacy Office.
Last date page updated: 7/12/13 (CRCL)

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