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CybersecurityFusion Centers important in promoting cybersecurity

Published 21 July 2015

Fusion centers were created after 9/11 to serve as primary focal points for state, local, federal, tribal, and territorial partners to receive, analyze, and share threat-related information. States can promote cybersecurity and enhance their capabilities by heightening the importance of cybersecurity as a mission of fusion centers, according to a paper released the other day by the National Governors Association (NGA).

States can promote cybersecurity and enhance their capabilities by heightening the importance of cybersecurity as a mission of fusion centers, according to a paper released the other day by the National Governors Association (NGA).

Fusion centers were created after 9/11 to serve as primary focal points for state, local, federal, tribal, and territorial partners to receive, analyze, and share threat-related information. Currently, seventy-eight fusion centers exist; fifty-three are owned and operated by states and territories. While fusion centers originally were designed to focus on terrorism, they now have matured and evolved to address a wider array of threats and hazards.

Enhancing the Role of Fusion Centers in Cybersecurity examines actions governors and state policymakers can take to increase the role of fusion centers in promoting cybersecurity and public safety.

“Because of the growing number of threats to our cyber infrastructure, looking at adding or expanding cybersecurity capabilities within fusion centers make sense and provides states an important opportunity,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, co-chair of the NGA Resource Center for State Cybersecurity (Resource Center). “By expanding their role, we protect not only our states’ cybersecurity but the public safety of each of our citizens.”

The NGA says that to enhance the role of a state fusion center, a governor can:

  • Create a shared cybersecurity mission among homeland security, emergency management, information technology and law enforcement;
  • Conduct an assessment of the state fusion center’s capabilities to manage a cybersecurity mission;
  • Develop a business and operations plan for the fusion center;
  • Implement an outreach strategy to the private sector to identify existing information sharing processes; and
  • Establish clear performance measurements for fusion center activities.

“Attacks on critical cyber infrastructure are one of the most serious threats facing the nation, and states must be able to respond appropriately,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-Virginia), co-chair of the Resource Center. “By implementing these recommendations, governors can effectively use fusion centers as an important asset in this response.”

— Read more in Enhancing the Role of Fusion Centers in Cybersecurity (National Governors Association, 2015); and see more information about the Resource Center, and about the work of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Division