DHS says that one of the most serious emerging threats to the country is posed by radicalized American citizens or residents capable of carrying out terrorist attacks with little or no warning.
“In some ways, the threat today may be at its most heightened state since the attacks nearly 10 years ago,” Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, told lawmakers.
This threat requires the United States to improve its existing techniques and strategies to detect and deter terrorist attacks, Ms. Napolitano said. And that means relying increasingly on a new group of terrorism fighters.
“Our focus must be on aiding law enforcement and helping to provide them with the information and resources they need to secure their own communities from the threat they face,” she said.
The Homeland Security Department is trying to increase the abilities of a loose national network of so-called fusion centers, sites operated by state or local governments where law enforcement and emergency personnel share information about terrorist threats and other crises.
Last year, however, an assessment by the department found that half of the nation’s 72 fusion centers failed to meet basic standards of effectiveness, including the ability to apply information sent from Washington to their local communities. Since then, the department has sought to bolster the weaker centers, and officials say all the centers now meet a minimum set of standards.