Budget shortfalls at state and local levels have impeded progress at establishing a common standard throughout U.S. fusion centers for gathering and sharing counterterorrism intelligence, according to a study released recently assessing the situation ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

While there as been good progress in setting up the National Network of Fusion Centers in the last 10 years, “capability building to a common standard among all centers remains a challenge due to diminishing budgets a the state and local level and a shortage of trained intelligence analysts,” the study said.

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance partnered with the Homeland Security Intelligence Council to produce the white paper titled “Intelligence to Protect the Homeland: Taking stock ten years later and looking ahead.” INSA is a non-profit private and public organization devoted to promoting high standards in the national security and intelligence communities. The HSIC consists of a series of committees with dozens of homeland security and intelligence professionals designed to create a conceptual framework for homeland security.

They recommended that Congress consider funding a baseline operational capability for state and urban area fusion centers.

The information sharing environment should be decentralized to allow disparate analytic nodes to communicate and share knowledge, the report said.

“Technology should be the enabler but should not replace the analyst,” the study said. “New technology is not necessarily required but rather more effective integration and optimization can me made of existing systems and those under development.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, however, should explore new technologies that can be leveraged to support and enforce privacy and civil liberties, the report said.