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FACT SHEET: Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC)
The Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) serves as the nation?s nerve center for information sharing and domestic incident management?dramatically increasing the vertical coordination between federal, state, territorial, tribal, local, and private sector partners. The HSOC collects and fuses information from a variety of sources everyday to help deter, detect, and prevent terrorist acts. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the HSOC provides real-time situational awareness and monitoring of the homeland, coordinates incidents and response activities, and, in conjunction with the DHS Office of Information Analysis, issues advisories and bulletins concerning threats to homeland security, as well as specific protective measures. Information on domestic incident management is shared with Emergency Operations Centers at all levels through the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN).
The HSOC represents over 35 agencies ranging from state and local law enforcement to federal intelligence agencies. Information is shared and fused on a daily basis by the two halves of the HSOC that are referred to as the ?Intelligence Side? and the ?Law Enforcement Side.? Each half is identical and functions in tandem with the other but requires a different level of clearance to access information. The ?Intelligence Side? focuses on pieces of highly classified intelligence and how the information contributes to the current threat picture for any given area. The ?Law Enforcement Side? is dedicated to tracking the different enforcement activities across the country that may have a terrorist nexus. The two pieces fused together create a real-time snap shot of the nation?s threat environment at any moment. (See HSOC Watchstanders below for list of partners.)
HSOC Information Sharing Tools
>> Homeland Security Information Network. The HSOC communicates in real-time to its partners by utilizing the Homeland Security Information Network?s (HSIN) internet-based counterterrorism communications tool, supplying information to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and more than 50 major urban areas.
>>HSIN-Critical Infrastructure (CI). The HSIN-CI was launched last month and was specially designed to communicate real-time information to critical infrastructure owners and operators ? 80 percent of whom are part of the private sector. HSIN?CI has the capacity to send alerts and notifications to the private sector at a rate of:
>>Dissemination Capabilities. The HSOC regularly disseminates domestic terrorism-related information generated by the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate, known as ?products? to federal, state, and local governments, as well as private-sector organizations and international partners. Threat products come in two forms:
>>Homeland Security Advisory System. On March 11, 2002, President Bush unveiled the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) as a tool to improve coordination and communication among all levels of government, the private sector, and the American public in the fight against terrorism. The Advisory System not only identifies the Threat Condition, but also outlines protective measures that can be taken by our partners. The federal government, states, and the private sector each have a set of plans and protective measures that are implemented as the Threat Condition is raised or lowered, thus reducing our vulnerability to attack. The HSOC is the distributor of the recommended security measures to our state and local partners when the threat level is raised or lowered.
HSOC Operational Capabilities
>> Vulnerability Situational Awareness. The HSOC monitors vulnerabilities and compares them against threats, providing a centralized, real-time flow of information between homeland security partners. This data collected from across the country is then fused into a master template which allows the HSOC to provide a visual picture of the nation?s current threat status. The HSOC has the capability to:
>>Imagery Capability. Now, as information is shared across agencies, HSOC staff can apply imagery capability by cross-referencing informational data against geospatial data that can then pinpoint an image down to an exact location. Satellite technology is able to transmit pictures of the site in question directly into the HSOC. This type of geographic data can then be stored to create a library of images that can be mapped against future threats and shared with our state and local partners.
>>Senior Level Communication. The HSOC is in constant communication with the White House, acting as the situational awareness conduit for the White House Situation Room by providing information needed to make decisions and define courses of action.
HSOC Incident Management Role
>>Interagency Incident Management Group (IIMG). The IIMG is a headquarters-level group comprised of senior representatives from DHS components, other federal departments and agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The IIMG provides strategic situational awareness, synthesizes key intelligence and operational information, frames operational courses of action and policy recommendations, anticipates evolving requirements, and provides decision support to the Secretary of Homeland Security and other national authorities during periods of elevated alert and national domestic incidents.
>>Quick Response. During incidents such as Hurricane Isabel, the December 2003 Orange Alert, and the black-out in New York City, the IIMG was ?stood-up? in less than 90 minutes and hosted Assistant Secretary-level members of the represented agencies to provide strategic leadership.
The HSOC is home to a variety of agency, state, and local partners that provide constant watch for the safety of our nation. Receiving hundreds of calls, they address about 22 incidents or cases per day. The agencies represented include:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Coast Guard
Postal Inspection Service
Central Intelligence Agency
United States Secret Service
DC Metropolitan Police Department
Defense Intelligence Agency
Federal Protective Service
New York Police Department
National Security Agency
Customs and Border Protection
Los Angeles Police Department
Immigration Customs Enforcement
Department of Energy
Environmental Protection Agency
Drug Enforcement Agency
Department of Interior (US Park Police)
Federal Air Marshal Service
Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Department of Defense
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of Veterans Affairs
National Capitol Region
Transportation Security Administration
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Department of Health and Human Services
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration
Public Affairs (DHS)
State and Local Coordination Office
Science and Technology Directorate
Geo-spatial Mapping Office
Information Analysis Office
Infrastructure Protection Office
State of Oklahoma
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