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In general, a fusion center is a collaborative effort to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. Recognizing that fusion centers are a mechanism for information sharing, the federal government--including the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), who has primary responsibility for governmentwide information sharing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ)--is taking steps to partner with fusion centers. This testimony is based on GAO's draft report on state and local fusion centers. It addresses (1) the status and characteristics of the centers and (2) to what extent federal efforts help alleviate challenges fusion centers identified. In conducting this work GAO reviewed center-related documents and conducted interviews with officials from DHS, DOJ, and the PM-ISE, and semistructured interviews with 58 state and local fusion centers.

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