State, local, tribal, and federal partners, along with several national law enforcement organizations, collaborated to develop the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), a national program to share terrorism-related SAR data at all levels of government. The NSI incorporates agencies’ individual SAR processes into a nationwide capability to share terrorism-related SAR data. The SAR process focuses on what law enforcement has been doing for years—gathering information regarding behaviors and incidents associated with crime and establishing a process to share information to detect and prevent criminal activity, including crime associated with domestic and international terrorism.
The IJIS Institute supported the NSI by providing program management, training, and system integration services during the implementation of operational capabilities at each of the 78 DHS designated fusion centers establish in the United States and territories. After a two-year pilot effort involving three state fusion centers, nine major city fusion centers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the White House authorized a national implementation of the NSI in 2010. The primary goal of the NSI program was to institutionalize operational procedures, training, policy development, and technology at the fusion centers to allow for the rapid sharing of suspicious activity reports (using National Information Exchange Model data exchanges) within the fusion center community, DHS, and, of course, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force organization.
Of particular importance to the NSI Program Management Office was ensuring that a citizen’s privacy, constitutional civil rights, and civil liberties were protected while, at the same time, allowing suspicious activity in 16 different areas (such as photography, surveillance, or testing of security) to be reviewed and evaluated by trained analysts and law enforcement personnel.
The project was funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, and included the participation of seven IJIS Institute Member companies in various phases of the implementation process. The IJIS institute completed its work in September 2014 and the FBI assumed responsibility for the NSI technology program.