The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has announced the standup of the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team (JCAT), where public-safety professionals—fire service, EMS, law-enforcement, intelligence, homeland-security and public-health officials—are making a difference in the counterterrorism community.
The NCTC recognizes the best approach to combat terrorism is to bring all instruments of national power together, especially where intelligence, first-responder and the federal, state, and local jurisdictions intersect. This approach includes integrating state and local public-safety officers into federal intelligence collaboration, analysis and information sharing. To that end, NCTC established the JCAT as the successor to the Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group (ITACG).
The ITACG was a successful model of interagency cooperation and information sharing lauded by federal, state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTT for short) homeland-security, intelligence and law-enforcement partners nationwide. The cornerstone to ITACG's success was SLTT homeland-security and law-enforcement officers detailed to NCTC on one-year tours to work side by side with federal intelligence analysts.
JCAT differs from its predecessor in subtle but significant ways. JCAT builds on and expands beyond its predecessor's original legislative mandate. JCAT will now partner SLTT participants with federal analysts for the specific purpose of producing intelligence for the SLTT community.
JCAT is an NCTC-led tri-agency activity; NCTC, DHS and the FBI will each share costs, resources and sponsorship of SLTT participation. This approach allows the federal government to continue to leverage SLTT expertise while capitalizing on NCTC's information accesses, analytic cadre and resources.
JCAT's mission is to improve information sharing and enhance public safety. In coordination with the FBI and DHS, JCAT will collaborate with other members of the intelligence community to research, produce and disseminate counterterrorism intelligence products for federal, state, local and tribal government agencies and the private sector and advocate for the counterterrorism intelligence requirements and needs of these partners throughout the intelligence community.
The JCAT director is appointed by the NCTC director and is supported by two senior-level officers serving as co-deputies, one each from the FBI and DHS. NCTC, DHS and the FBI are each contributing one federal analyst to the JCAT. Further, NCTC, DHS and the FBI have agreed to sponsor three representatives each from the public-safety community, for a total of nine members representing law enforcement, fire services, public health, intelligence analysis, private sector and other SLTT components.
JCAT Lines of Effort
JCAT will focus its energy on three primary lines of effort:
- Intelligence review and collaborative production
- Partner liaison and outreach
- Intelligence community education