Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, participated in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, "Ten Years After 9/11: A Status Report on Information Sharing."

His statement follows:

"As we marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks last month, we were reminded just how important information sharing is to our homeland security. We realized that we must not only tear down stovepipes between law enforcement and the intelligence community, but that we must also find smarter, more efficient ways of collecting, analyzing, and sharing information.

"Across the government we have seen significant enhancements in information sharing since 9/11, from the implementation of new programs such as 'Suspicious Activity Reporting' to the creation of new entities, such as the National Counterterrorism Center. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also taken bold steps to enhance the information sharing capabilities of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions through its support of the national network of state-run information hubs or 'fusion centers.'

"However, as we grapple with our current fiscal crisis, we must ensure that these new programs and offices are truly demonstrating results and operating in a cost-effective manner. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), DHS has supported fusion centers with more than $400 million in grant funding since 2004, but it has not fully implemented a set of standard performance measures to show the value of the centers.

"I understand DHS is developing new metrics, but we must keep moving forward with measuring the progress and performance of our fusion centers. That is why, last month, I added a provision to the DHS Authorization Act of 2011 that would require GAO to assess the performance of fusion centers. While fusion centers have played an important part in several terrorism cases, it is critical that we ensure our federal grant dollars are truly improving information sharing to address the evolving threat environment.

"Today's hearing will provide this Committee with an important overview of the progress we have made in information sharing since 9/11 and where we should be investing our limited federal resources. I thank all our distinguished witnesses for being here today and I look forward to hearing about how we can do a better job of sharing information across all levels of government."