The Department of Homeland Security continues to shape how it works with state and local intelligence groups, or fusion centers.
Last year, the department started a revamp of its Office of Intelligence and Analysis to better carry out its work. Initially grouped with the Office of Protection when DHS was first established, Intelligence and Analysis has now branched off to fulfill goals that weren’t always met in the previous format. The realignment was done in an effort to have INA refocus on its task.
“The goal was to align our structure more closely to our missions and responsibilities,” Caryn Wagner, under Secretary for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at DHS said. “So you can now actually look at my organizational chart and find organizations that are responsible for homeland counter-terrorism, for border and immigration security, for cyber analytic support, sort of our key mission pillars.”
The revamping also included moving around some offices, include the office which coordinated with state and local authorities that Wagner says was initially “buried a few levels down” and has now been elevated to report to her
In addition, a new review procedure, the The Plans, Programs and Performance Measurement activity, has been instituted to ensure that the office is carrying out tasks centric to their mission and as efficiently as possible.
When the intelligence and analysis office was first created, Wagner said, the department drew staff from the intelligence community at large.
“It’s very helpful to have all of the different perspectives that we have,” “The interesting and fun thing about this job is we’re doing a new kind of intelligence analysis for which there really is not a template. The kind of products that we’re trying to produce, no one’s really done before, so we’re sort of inventing as we go along, and it’s good to have that mix of cultures and perspectives because I think it helps us be more creative, in what we should be doing to serve our customers.
Office at crossroads of intelligence and law enforcement, Wagner said, so it also helps to have those perspectives represented.
Wagner’s office is also responding to a new department-wide challenge to increase cybersecurity.
“The department has a very important responsibility to secure the “.gov” network,” Wagner said. “We’ve now made cyber a major mission pillar of the department and we’re really building up our capabilities to do that. My office’s job is to provide the analytic support, and right now I do that with people who are embedded in the part of the department that focuses on cyber.”
But there’s more that her office can do, and that the realignment is underway, they’ve got a new challenge.
“We have all of this data, that frankly we don’t have enough people to look at.” Wagner said. “It would be great to be able to use that data to identify trends and patterns, and ideally we’d like to get to a place where we’re helping to do predictive analysis on cyber intrusions to support the department’s mission.”
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, 6 a.m.-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere.
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