Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The National Network of Fusion Centers (Network) represents one of the post-9/11 era organizational efforts to strengthen the security of the homeland through collaboration, analysis, and information sharing. These entities have been subjected to criticisms and have been noted in studies as being deficient in certain areas suggesting that the Network has been experiencing problems with integrating the U.S. national security strategy. Using the multiple streams framework, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and understand elements that have been impacting the Network's integration with broader national security efforts as well as identify items contributing to negative perceptions of fusion centers. Data for this qualitative study were collected through interviews with 13 individuals working within the Network. Collected data elements were inductively coded and then analyzed, demonstrating the relevance of framework to this topic area. Research findings indicated that there were challenges with Network integration that were influenced by perceptions of problems/threats, views concerning a fusion center's primary stakeholder, and constraints related to existing organizational policy and mandates. Barriers to integration stemmed from differing priorities, ineffective marketing, policy requirements, relationships, and limited resources. Study recommendations included the development of a strategic engagement plan, alignment of priorities, and increases in federal funding and representation. The implications for positive social change of this study are associated with proving transparency on the Network, informing national security agencies and decision makers on issues impacting integration, and promoting operational efficiencies.