November FCLP Marks Three Years of Innovative Educational Course
November marked the third year of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s (CHDS) Fusion Center Leaders Program (FCLP).
Twenty–eight fusion center and intelligence professionals completed the sixth iteration of the program offered twice yearly on the campus of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.
The first FCLP was conducted in June 2010 with the goal of maturing and strengthening management capabilities of fusion center leaders through academic homeland security coursework.
Each installment builds upon the previous and the most recent cohort was focused on developing and improving the national network of fusion centers, said Robert Simeral of the CHDS faculty.
"In the wake of a high-visibility Congressional report on state and major urban area fusion centers, the FCLP 6 course allowed us to examine many of the issues raised in the report and to self-assess and critique fusion center processes and methods," he said.
During the November session, participants discussed the need for fusion centers to develop standardized plans, policies, and standard operating practices when detailing their operations to ensure the common and consistent implementation of the intelligence process within their jurisdictions.
Another popular topic was the implementation of fusion liaison officer programs, which are considered essential links between participating agencies and fusion centers in sharing information.
"This is one of the best national networking opportunities with which I’ve been involved," said Lt. Jeff Ritzman, coordinator of the Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center. "We’re exploring the feasibility of an Intelligence Liaison Officer (ILO) program through our fusion center and the interaction with other Fusion Centers with mature ILO programs has already paid dividends."
As with past FCLPs, the student makeup comprised state and major urban area fusion center directors with intelligence commanders and federal counterparts, including representatives from the FBI, DHS, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service, and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
"Graduates of FCLP are well-equipped to pursue and address the leadership and operational challenges that face them," Simeral said. "The operative question for the FCLP: ‘What will your fusion center look like in five years?’"
The FCLP, which is 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).