H.R. 2539 would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prioritize the assignment of federal officers and intelligence analysts to existing fusion centers in jurisdictions where high-risk surface transportation systems are located to enhance the sharing of information about security-related threats. (Fusion centers are state and locally owned facilities that serve as focal points for coordinating the efforts of government agencies and other entities involved in law enforcement and other security-related activities.) The bill also would authorize DHS to provide training to nonfederal law enforcement agencies.
The bill does not specify how DHS should prioritize the assignment of its employees, but on the bases of information from the department about current staffing levels, CBO expects that providing the envisioned level of support to fusion centers would require additional federal personnel. Using information from DHS, CBO estimates that as many as 36 such centers oversee high-risk transportation-related assets. For this estimate, CBO expects that DHS would deploy one full-time employee (at an average annual cost of about $175,000) to each of those centers. The department would probably hire additional staff gradually over the next year, thus CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $3 million in 2020 and $6 million each year from 2021 through 2024 for a total of $27 million over the next five years. Costs could be higher or lower depending on how many employees DHS determines are necessary to work with the fusion centers and carry out other activities under the bill.