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FCLP Retools Curriculum as it Enters Fourth Year

As the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Fusion Center Leaders Program (FCLP) enters its fourth year a dozen of the profession’s top experts convened in Monterey April 3-5 to review and update the course’s curriculum.

The Center, along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and interagency partners, established the course in 2010 to mature and strengthen the management capabilities of fusion center leaders through academic homeland security coursework.

"Given that this is the fourth year we are examining issues of significance to make sure we are not only current but that we are staying ahead," said Robert Simeral, NPS executive director, Intelligence Research. "The domestic intelligence enterprise is starting to coalesce around the FCLP, which is contributing to doctrine about how the enterprise works."

Over the course of the two days the participants thoroughly examined each module of the program and fine-tuned the content. The discussions reflected what challenges confront fusion centers in practice, such as what and how much intelligence to produce and how fusion centers exist with the homeland security enterprise. Participants tweaked, shuffled and added content, including four additional classroom hours to the weeklong course that would focus on leadership.

The additional segment would address issues such as management, legal issues, partnerships, prioritization and complexity theory as well as managing cultural resistance to change.

Fusion centers operating in the United States range from large-scale operations to small enterprises and turnover at the centers is common. Much of the course continues to be enhancing leadership skills regardless of the size of the center.

"The intent is to give leaders perspective on fusion centers both in the overall fusion center network and in the domestic intelligence enterprise," said David Pyle, deputy director, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Office, Office of the Director of National Intelligence. "We want to make sure they understand there is a broad group of partners to deal with and work with in their day-to-day operations that is a force multiplier for them to meet their mission."

As the nation’s fiscal downturn continues, more content on planning would be beneficial to new directors taking the FCLP course, said Ray Guidetti, executive officer, New Jersey Operations Intelligence Center.

"In this austere financial climate it is critical we plan resource allocation," he said. "To present a module in strategic planning would add value."

Fusion centers would equally benefit from coordinating with their National Incident Management System (NIMS) partners, said Matt Tompkins, supervisory intelligence analyst at the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center.

"If we’re going to anticipate how fusion centers may fit into response, it has to be done in the context of the Incident Command System (ICS) and NIMS, and it has to be done on the educational level," Tompkins said. "There is an educational opportunity to encourage fusion center management to plug into the local ICS and NIMS communities to see how they fit with local planning."

The FCLP, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was developed based on input from interagency partners, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Justice (DOJ), and state and local partners through the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC) and National Fusion Center Association (NFCA).