Summary: H.R.642 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House without amendment (01/31/2017)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Fusion Center Enhancement Act of 2017

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to revise provisions concerning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) State, Local, and Regional Fusion Center Initiative. The bill renames it as the Department of Homeland Security Fusion Center Partnership Initiative and changes references to "participating state, local, or regional fusion centers" to references to the "National Network of Fusion Centers," which is defined as a decentralized arrangement of fusion centers intended to enhance individual state and urban area fusion centers' ability to leverage the capabilities and expertise of all fusion centers for the purpose of enhancing analysis and homeland security information sharing nationally. (A fusion center serves as a focal point within the state and local environment for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information between the federal government and state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector partners.)

The duties of the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Initiative are revised to include:

  • supporting the maturation and sustainment of the Network;
  • reducing inefficiencies and maximizing the effectiveness of federal resource support to the Network;
  • ensuring that support for the Network is included as a national priority in applicable homeland security grant guidance;
  • ensuring that each fusion center in the Network has a privacy policy and a civil rights and civil liberties policy approved by DHS;
  • coordinating the nationwide suspicious activity report initiative to ensure that information gathered by the Network is incorporated;
  • ensuring that fusion centers in the Network are the primary focal points for the sharing of homeland security information, terrorism information, and weapons of mass destruction information with state, local, tribal, and territorial entities; and
  • disseminating best practices on the appropriate levels for staffing at Network fusion centers of qualified representatives from state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and emergency services, public health disciplines, and the private sector.

The Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis must ensure that fusion centers in the Network have access to homeland security information sharing systems and that DHS personnel are deployed to support fusion centers in the Network in a manner consistent with DHS's mission and existing statutory limits.

The Under Secretary shall negotiate memoranda of understanding between DHS and a state or local government regarding the exchange of information between DHS and Network fusion centers. Such memoranda shall include:

  • the categories of information to be provided by the parties to such memoranda,
  • the contemplated uses of the exchanged information,
  • the procedures for developing joint products,
  • the information sharing dispute resolution processes, and
  • any protections necessary to ensure the exchange of information accords with applicable law and policies.

The Under Secretary shall: (1) coordinate with appropriate federal officials to ensure the deployment to Network fusion centers of representatives of other federal agencies with relevant expertise; and (2) report to specified congressional committees annually through 2024 on the efforts of DHS components to enhance support provided to Network fusion centers.