Microsoft and Illinois State Police Collaborate on Best Practices and Information Technology Architecture for Homeland Security Fusion Centers

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 5, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. and the Illinois State Police today unveiled a glimpse of the first-generation law enforcement intelligence fusion center architecture currently code-named “FusionX” to a group of federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety leaders from across the United States.

A fusion center is a terrorism prevention and response center designed to facilitate information sharing across governmental jurisdictions. Stemming from a yearlong effort to establish best practices and architectural approaches, “FusionX” is a blueprint for horizontal collaboration services to enable analysts to take in, process and disseminate information related to criminal and terrorism intelligence and information. The announcement was made at Microsoft’s Homeland Security and Public Safety Technology Symposium being held in Redmond, Wash., Dec. 4–6.

The genesis of “FusionX” was an initiative mutually conceived by the Illinois State Police and Microsoft to develop a fusion center architecture solution from the bottom up based on deep understanding of state and local missions and operations. Ultimately, “FusionX” will lead to an “all threats, all crimes, all hazards” architecture that enables standards-based connections and collaboration among federal, state, local, tribal and private organizations.

“The Illinois State Police is a recognized leader in the rapidly evolving fusion center concept. They demonstrate daily that our society’s safety is their top priority,” said Linda Zecher, vice president of the U.S. Public Sector Group at Microsoft. “Citizens should have an expectation that their governments will consistently use technology to make their communities safer.”

For the past year the Illinois State Police and Microsoft have collaborated under a formal agreement to develop “FusionX” concepts and test them in a working proof-of-concept architecture. The horizontal architecture performs a range of information fusion operations needed to help counter traditional crime, narcotics trafficking and terrorism and to deliver support for all-hazards missions. Specifically, the “FusionX” approach seeks to advance best practices, technology architecture and standards for fusion center infrastructure, business process automation, and internal and external collaboration.

“Our nation requires effective information sharing and collaborative tools to accomplish the broad sweep of the homeland security mission — whether it is prevention, preparation or response,” said Joe Rozek, executive director of Homeland Security and Intelligence at Microsoft. “This work can serve as a model and the foundation of a truly national information-sharing environment.”

“The Illinois State Police and Microsoft have seized a unique opportunity to collaborate in this area of national interest,” said Larry G. Trent, director of the Illinois State Police. “Microsoft’s reputation for innovation and cutting-edge technology is unparalleled. We are very pleased and excited to be part of this critical development in homeland security protection.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Intelligence Analysis has created an organization whose focus is the promotion and coordination of state and local information fusion centers. DHS has a goal of helping establish 70 state and local fusion centers, and posting DHS analysts to many of them. Currently, more than 50 state and local information fusion centers are in operation.

Both DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice have invested significantly in trying to define and shape missions, functions and processes needed to achieve effective and efficient fusion centers. Despite this investment, technology standards and principles for delivering true “all threats, all crimes, all hazards” information fusion are still in need of development. In conjunction with members of its Public Safety sector, Microsoft intends to build an ecosystem of commercial partners to address this critical requirement, which will help government accelerate commercial solutions.

The proof of concept developed by Microsoft and the Illinois State Police demonstrates the progress being made in information sharing as well as the ability to make a higher volume and diversity of information more broadly accessible to authorities than before. As the relationship between the two organizations continues, experts in intelligence, operations and technology will address the challenge of accessing, managing, assessing and analyzing this new body of data and disseminating actionable knowledge to decision-makers in a timely manner.

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