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Alabama ranks 15th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations, and sixth overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11 (tied with Georgia). In dollar amount, the state ranked 24th in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 28th in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 11th in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to Alabama by analyzing data, including the following: * Alabama is one of 13 states or territories where U.S. attorneys secured one terrorism-related conviction from Sept. 11, 2001, through March 2010, according to the Justice Department. * The state is one of 18 that have no metropolitan area that has been designated by the federal government as "high-threat, high-density" with regard to acts of terrorism. * The only foreign-terrorist-related arrest associated with Alabama since 9/11 involves a 2007 indictment charging 14 individuals with terrorism violations for providing money, personnel and services to the Somalia-based al-Shabab. One of those charged, U.S. citizen Omar Hammami, was an Alabama resident (12 of the others were from Minnesota, and one lived in California). Alabama was the first state to create its own legislatively enacted Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, and it established a fusion center in 2008. Alabama has four FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces (in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery), as many as New York and Ohio. FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, located in Anniston, is the Department of Homeland Security's only federally chartered training center for weapons of mass destruction preparedness.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 84

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 32

61.9% Pre-9/11

38.1% Post-9/11

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Alabama is organized into six homeland security regions. The state is located in FEMA Region IV; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is located in Atlanta.

Law Enforcement
Law Enforcement
Includes organizations at the federal, state and local levels that have the police powers to make arrests and investigate criminal matters.
Emergency Management
Emergency Management
Organizations tasked with responding to natural disasters, attacks using weapons of mass destruction and other emergencies.
Homeland Security
Homeland Security
Organizations responsible for activities -- such as infrastructure protection, border control and planning for the aftermath of terrorist attacks -- handled mainly by the Department of Homeland Security.
Organizations, such as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces, that work exclusively on terrorism cases.
Joint Terrorism Task Force
A multiagency task force, run by the FBI, that has the lead in investigating terrorism within the United States.
Intelligence and Fusion
Organizations that collect, analyze and share information about domestic threats.
Fusion Centers
Fusion Center
A place where information from multiple agencies in a state or region is sent to be analyzed.
Totals 56171184


  • Counterterrorism

    Four Joint Terrorism Task Forces are organized in Alabama: one each at field offices in Mobile and Birmingham (the latter is called the Northern Alabama JTTF), with JTTF annexes in Huntsville and Montgomery. The U.S. attorney chairs three Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) for the northern, middle and southern districts, in North Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile.

  • Intelligence

    Alabama is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC). Alabama is also a member of Southern Shield, a consortium of state homeland security and law enforcement officials from 14 Southeastern states and territories. At the federal level, the FBI operates Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) in Mobile and Birmingham to analyze and share federal terrorism-related intelligence (and intelligence on all major threats) inside and outside the bureau in Alabama. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in New Orleans has jurisdiction over Alabama.

  • Fusion

    Alabama's Fusion Center, established in December 2008, is administered through a partnership among the state's Homeland Security Department, the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC) and the Alabama Department of Public Safety, which is responsible for the center's day-to-day operations. The state-designated fusion center is responsible for collecting, integrating and evaluating information of all kinds that could have an effect on detecting criminal or terrorism-related activity.

  • Homeland Security

    The Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS) was established in June 2003 "to ensure adequate preparations are in place to deal with terrorist events." The department is on the steering committee of the Alabama Fusion Center. The ALDHS is responsible for leading, integrating and coordinating the overall state effort to enhance critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) protection. To assist in this effort, DHS Protective Security Advisors are located in Birmingham and Mobile.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Alabama Department of Public Safety is the statewide law enforcement agency. The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC), the agency responsible for gathering and providing information for Alabama's law enforcement and criminal justice community, is operated by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. The Alabama Fusion Center is located in space provided by the ACJIC. The FBI field offices in Birmingham and Mobile operate resident agencies and satellite offices in Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Dothan, Monroeville, Montgomery, Opelika and Selma. The Coast Guard National Strike Force Gulf Strike Team is located in Mobile.

  • Emergency Management

    The Alabama Emergency Management Agency coordinates disaster and emergency planning. The director is also the state's assistant director of homeland security for emergency preparedness and response. FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, is the DHS's only federally chartered weapons of mass destruction preparedness training center.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
Center for Domestic Preparedness (FEMA)Annistonx
Bessemer Police DepartmentBessemerx
Birmingham Division (FBI)Birmingham 
Birmingham Electronic Crimes Task Force (Secret Service)Birmingham 
Birmingham Infraguard Chapter (FBI)Birmingham 
Birmingham JTTF 308th Military Intelligence Battalion LiaisonBirminghamx
Birmingham Police DepartmentBirminghamx
Birmingham Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Birmingham 
Birmingham Satellite Office (ATF)Birmingham 
Jefferson County Sheriff's OfficeBirminghamx
Northern Ala. JTTF / Birmingham JTTF (FBI)Birminghamx
Protective Security Advisor Birmingham District (DHS)Birminghamx
RAC Birmingham (ICE)Birmingham 
University of Alabama at Birmingham Police DepartmentBirminghamx
USAO Northern District of Alabama (U.S. Attorney)Birmingham 
USMS Northern District of Alabama (Marshals)Birmingham 
USSS Birmingham (Secret Service)Birmingham 
Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA)Clanton 
Shelby County Sheriff's OfficeColumbianax
Dothan Resident Agency (FBI)Dothan 
Florence Resident Agency (FBI)Florence 
Fort Rucker CID Office (U.S. Army)Ft. Rucker 
Etowah County Sheriff’s OfficeGadsenx
Gadsden Resident Agency (FBI)Gadsen 
Hoover Police DepartmentHooverx
Hunstville Police DepartmentHuntsvillex
Huntsville Field Office (Defense Sec.)Huntsville 
Huntsville JTTF Annex (FBI)Huntsvillex
Huntsville Office (Drug Enforcement)Huntsville 
Huntsville Resident Agency (FBI)Huntsville 
Huntsville Satellite Office (ATF)Huntsville 
AFOSI Det 405 (Air Force)Maxwell AFB 
AFOSI 3 FIS Cyber Flight/OL-B Maxwell-Gunter AFB (Air Force)Maxwell-Gunter Annex AFBx
ASAC Mobile (ICE)Mobile 
ATAC Southern District of Ala. (U.S. Attorney)Mobilex
DHS Office of Investigations Field Office MobileMobilex
Mobile Coastal Site (Customs)Mobile 
Mobile Division (FBI)Mobile 
Mobile Infraguard Chapter (FBI)Mobile 
Mobile JTTF (FBI)Mobilex
Mobile Police DepartmentMobile 
Mobile Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Mobile 
Mobile Satellite Office/Industrial Operations (ATF)Mobile 
Mobile Station (Border Patrol)Mobile 
Protective Security Advisor Mobile District (DHS)Mobilex
USAO Southern District of Alabama (U.S. Attorney)Mobile 
USMS Southern District of Alabama (Marshals)Mobile 
USSS Mobile (Secret Service)Mobile 
Monroeville Resident Agency (FBI)Monroeville 
46th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Montgomeryx
Alabama Adjutant General (TAG)Montgomery 
Alabama Air National GuardMontgomery 
Alabama Army National GuardMontgomery 
Alabama Attorney General's OfficeMontgomery 
Alabama Citizen CorpsMontgomeryx
Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS)Montgomeryx
Alabama DOMS (Nat'l Guard)Montgomery 
Ala. Bureau of InvestigationMontgomeryx
Ala. Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC)Montgomery 
Ala. Department of Public SafetyMontgomeryx
Ala. Fusion Center (Ala. Bur. of Investigation)Montgomeryx
Ala. National Guard CounterdrugMontgomery 
Ala. National Guard JFHQ/JOCMontgomeryx
Ala. State Alcoholic Beverage Control BoardMontgomeryx
Ala. State Defense Force (ASDF)Montgomery 
Middle District of Ala. ATAC (U.S. Attorney)Montgomeryx
Montgomery JTTF Annex (FBI)Montgomeryx
Montgomery Office (Drug Enforcement)Montgomery 
Montgomery Resident Agency (FBI)Montgomery 
Montgomery Satellite Office (ATF)Montgomery 
USAO Middle District of Alabama (U.S. Attorney)Montgomery 
USMS Middle District of Alabama (Marshals)Montgomery 
USSS Montgomery (Secret Service)Montgomery 
Northern District of Ala. ATAC (U.S. Attorney)North Birminghamx
Northport Police DepartmentNorthportx
Opelika Resident Agency (FBI)Opelika 
Army Operations Activity Detachment Redstone Arsenal (Military Intel.)Redstone Arsenalx
Company B, 308th Military Intel. BattalionRedstone Arsenal 
Huntsville Fraud Resident Agency (U.S. Army)Redstone Arsenal 
Huntsville Post of Duty (Defense)Redstone Arsenal 
Redstone CID Office (U.S. Army)Redstone Arsenal 
Selma Resident Agency (FBI)Selma 
Tuscaloosa Police DepartmentTuscaloosax
Tuscaloosa Resident Agency (FBI)Tuscaloosa 

The State of Alabama agriculture and food systems are vulnerable to disease, pest, or poisonous agents that occur naturally, are unintentionally introduced, or are intentionally delivered by acts of terrorism. Alabama's agriculture and food system is an extensive, open, interconnected, diverse, and complex structure providing potential targets for terrorist attacks. We should provide the best protection possible against a successful attack on the Alabama agriculture and food system, which could have catastrophic health and economic effects.”

Source: State of Alabama Emergency Operations Plan, 2009

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyExtreme heat; Floods; Hurricanes; Thunderstorms; Tornadoes
Domestic SecurityJamaat ul-Fuqra
Sourcing: Natural hazards are taken from DHS documents and State Emergency Operations Plans. Domestic terrorist threats are based upon U.S. government intelligence documents and actual attacks undertaken since 2001.

This project was last updated in September 2010. Data is accurate as of that date.
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The reporters

Dana Priest

Investigative reporter Dana Priest has been The Washington Post's intelligence, Pentagon and health-care reporter. She has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for public service for "The Other Walter Reed" and the 2006 Pulitzer for beat reporting for her work on CIA secret prisons and counterterrorism operations overseas. She is author of the 2003 book, "The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace With America's Military, (W.W. Norton).

William M. Arkin

William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post and since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.

Project Credits

Stephanie Clark, Ben de la Cruz, Kat Downs, Dan Drinkard, Anne Ferguson-Rohrer, Justin Ferrell, David Finkel, Jennifer Jenkins, Robert Kaiser, Laris Karklis, Jacqueline Kazil, Lauren Keane, Todd Lindeman, Greg Manifold, Jennifer Morehead, Bonnie Jo Mount, Larry Nista, Ryan O’Neil, Sarah Sampsel, Whitney Shefte, Laura Stanton, Julie Tate, Doris Truong, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Michael Williamson, Karen Yourish, Amanda Zamora.

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