H.R. 1870 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 gathering and sharing of information about security-related threats. (Fusion centers are state- owned facilities that help coordinate the efforts of government agencies and other law enforcement entities to assess threats.) The bill also would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review implementation of those information sharing activities. Lastly, H.R. 1870 would authorize DHS to develop a training program for nonfederal law enforcement agencies.
The bill does not specify how DHS should prioritize the assignment of its employees, but on the basis of information from the department about current staffing levels, CBO expects that the department would require additional federal personnel to increase support to fusion centers. Using information from DHS and the Transportation Security Administration, CBO expects that the department would deploy one additional full-time employee (at an initial average cost of about $175,000) to each of 36 centers that oversee high-risk transportation-related assets. CBO expects that the increase in additional staff would occur gradually; thus, we estimate that implementing the information sharing program would cost less than $500,000 in 2021, but increase to about $7 million annually beginning in 2023 and total $31 million over the 2021-2026 period.