Chapter 2. Missions and Characteristics
This chapter provides the current footprint, mission statement, and operational perspectives for TMCs, EOCs, and FCs. It also defines the following for each type of center:
The roles and characteristics of TMCs, EOCs, and FCs are distinctive yet related in many areas of responsibilities and incident management. Table 2-1 provides descriptions of TMCs, EOCs, and FCs, as defined by various relevant institutions.
2.1.1 TMC Overview
TMCs are responsible for a variety of functions to improve traffic conditions on transportation infrastructure, including highways, arterials, and transit, to increase efficiency and safety. In addition to personnel, ITS technologies located at the TMC and embedded in the infrastructure support TMC functions, some serving to support multiple functions. ITS represents an additional area of core functionality of TMC operations. To make these improvements in line with long-term strategic planning, regional TMCs implement ITS, which are used to monitor and control traffic. However, each region faces different transportation issues, including variations in geography, congestion issues, and incidents. Current planning for TMCs envisions their use as dispatch centers for local, regional, and State transportation assets, such as safety/service patrols and road maintenance efforts, leading to a more operational role. Some TMCs and TOCs already function in these capacities.
2.1.2 EOC Overview
EOCs coordinate information and resources to support domestic incident management activities. EOCs generally participate in both preparing for and responding to such incidents. For example, an EOC may support the evacuation of a community threatened by an incident such as a hazardous materials release or wildfire threat; response operations during a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake; and recovery activities following a flood, terrorist, or other malicious incident.
As noted in Section 2.1, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) definition recognizes that implementation of these centers may occur in a variety of ways based on several parameters, including:
A combination of the persistence, functional, and jurisdictional parameters provides the basis for the implementation of a particular EOC. As with an EOC’s operating status (e.g., incident-driven or standing) or organization, the resources available to an EOC directly reflect the community’s particular needs and investment in emergency operations. Regardless of how an EOC is implemented, a functional transportation infrastructure (and current information on the condition of that infrastructure) is critical to the EOC’s ability to accomplish its mission of facilitating the community’s preparation for, response to, and recovery from adverse incidents.
2.1.3 FC Overview
The formation of FCs resulted from the events of September 11, 2001, and the need, identified by the 9-11 Commission, to close the information-sharing gaps that have existed between the Federal government and States, primarily in the areas of homeland security and law enforcement. Missions among FCs vary and include, but are not limited to, three main areas—all-crimes, all-hazards, and counterterrorism, as presented in Table 2-2.
The Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers outlines the major functional, management, and administrative capabilities of FCs. Fusion process capabilities outline the standards necessary to perform the steps of the Intelligence Process within an FC. Management and administrative capabilities enable the proper management and functioning of an FC. Table 2-3 shows the specific capabilities for each type.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the most frequently cited reason for establishing an FC was the need to share information among Federal, State, and local entities. At the State and local level, the enhancement of information sharing within their own jurisdictions and across the various disciplines was another reason for the establishment of centers. The inability for coordination and information sharing at these two levels resulted in a failure to “connect the dots” prior to September 11, 2001. Today, FCs consider themselves force multipliers to, and a support structure for, existing EOCs, which have the main responsibility of response during large-scale incidents and disasters, either man-made or natural. Because some incidents may have components that are law enforcement or security sensitive, some EOCs have taken extra steps to ensure they have people on staff with appropriate clearances to review such information. They may also have developed methods for handling such data such as a secure communications system and designating a part of their facility to meet the National Security Agency’s requirements of a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
 On February 28, 2003, the President issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)–5, Management of Domestic Incidents, which directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). This system provides a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, State, local, and tribal governments and private-sector and nongovernmental organizations to work together effectively and efficiently to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism.
 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Incident Management System, March 1, 2004. Page 129.
 U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice, Fusion Center Guidelines.
 Federal Emergency Management Agency, Draft Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 502: Considerations for Fusion Center and Emergency Operations Center Coordination, 2009, page 14.
 U.S. Department of Justice, Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers: A Supplement to the Fusion Center Guidelines, September 2008.
 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Incident Management System, March 1, 2004, page 129.
 Government Accountability Office, Homeland Security: Federal Efforts are Helping to Address Some Challenges Faced by State and Local Fusion Centers, April 2007.
United States Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration
Last Modified: June 22, 2010