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Colorado ranks 10th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations (tied with Ohio), and fourth overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11. In dollar amount, the state ranked 21st in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 21st in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 33rd in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to Colorado by analyzing data, including the following: * Colorado had five terrorism-related convictions from Sept. 11, 2001, through March 2010, according to the Justice Department. * Denver is one of the 64 urban metropolitan areas that have been designated by the federal government as "high-threat, high-density" with regard to acts of terrorism. * Colorado has experienced no terrorism attacks since 9/11, but Denver was one of four U.S. cities (along with Dallas, New York and Springfield, Ill.) that were targets in a rash of plots uncovered and thwarted in September 2009. * Colorado has the eighth-largest and fastest-growing immigrant population in the nation, a measure that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI associate with potential threats. The dominant features in Colorado when it comes to national security are the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military's homeland security agency that was formed in October 2002, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a joint U.S. and Canadian agency. Both are headquartered in Colorado Springs. NORTHCOM has an extensive intelligence apparatus and its own fusion center that covers threats to North America, as well as six full-time operational task forces in Alaska, Hawaii, Texas (two), Virginia and the District of Columbia. The University of Denver and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs were founding members of NORTHCOM's Homeland Security/Defense Education Consortium. The Colorado Homeland Defense Alliance also promotes collaboration among the private sector, universities and the government on issues of national security and public safety. Colorado also hosts a considerable number of other government intelligence organizations -- including the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the CIA and military intelligence -- making metropolitan Denver home to nearly 35,000 federal employees, according to the state of Colorado. Colorado is one of 22 states with more than one Joint Terrorism Task Force.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 102

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 41

59.8% Pre-9/11

40.2% Post-9/11

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In July 2003, Colorado created nine All Hazards Emergency Management Regions, each with a homeland security coordinator, to coordinate the state's efforts to prevent and respond to potential terrorist attacks. Colorado is located in FEMA Region VIII; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is in Denver.

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 632019102


  • Counterterrorism

    The Colorado Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is located in Denver, with a JTTF annex in Colorado Springs. Colorado's Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) in Denver includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the state attorney general and district attorneys from throughout the state.

  • Intelligence

    Colorado is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Rocky Mountain Information Network (RMIN).

    At the federal level, the FBI Denver Field Intelligence Group works closely with the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC), which supports law enforcement and intelligence partners throughout the state. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in Denver has jurisdiction over Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. An alternate TSA Secure Flight Resolution Center, a "no-fly" watchlist intelligence fusion center, is located in Colorado Springs (the primary is in Annapolis Junction, Md.). The staff at the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in Denver performs criminal intelligence analysis for Colorado and for parts of Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

  • Fusion

    The Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC), the state's fusion center, established in 2004, is operated by the Colorado State Patrol. It is co-located with the state emergency operations center in Centennial. During the Democratic National Convention in 2008, the CIAC worked with the FBI, other federal agencies, NORTHCOM and local police, marking the first time during a designated "national security special event" that a combined intelligence and antiterrorism military task force fusion center was created to collect, analyze, process, store and disseminate all threat information.

  • Homeland Security

    The Governor's Office of Homeland Security was established in February 2008 to coordinate state, regional and local efforts to help Colorado's communities be able to prevent attacks and protect against, respond to and recover from all hazards. Colorado Rubicon is a voluntary, state-organized, critical infrastructure and key assets protection program that provides full-spectrum vulnerability assessments for private-sector organizations, including intelligence monitoring through the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC). To assist in critical infrastructure protection, the DHS Protection Security Advisor in Denver is responsible for Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Colorado also hosts one of three National Guard Critical Infrastructure Protection-Mission Assurance Assessment (CIP-MAA) teams charged with conducting assessments in support of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) program. The Federal Protective Service (FPS) Region 8 headquarters is located in Denver.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the statewide law enforcement agency and includes the Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC) and an intelligence component. The FBI Denver field office operates resident agencies and satellite offices in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Durango, Fort Collins, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and Pueblo.

  • Emergency Management

    The Colorado Division of Emergency Management (DEM), part of the Department of Local Affairs, is the agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness, from flooding to acts of terrorism. During an emergency or disaster, the DEM coordinates the state response and recovery program and maintains the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). The SEOC is the governor's command post and serves as the principal point for coordinating and tasking state departments and volunteer agencies.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
RA Alamosa (ICE)Alamosa 
8th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Aurorax
Aurora Police DepartmentAurorax
Denver Resident Office (Diplomatic Sec.)Aurora 
Boulder County Sheriff's OfficeBoulderx
Boulder Resident Agency (FBI)Boulder 
RAC Brush (ICE)Brush 
AFOSI Det 801 (Air Force)Buckley AFB 
Douglas County Sheriff's OfficeCastle Rockx
Colo. Division of Emergency ManagementCentennialx
Colo. Multiagency Coordination Center (MACC)Centennial 
Colo. National Guard Joint Force HeadquartersCentennialx
Colo. Office of Preparedness, Security, and Fire SafetyCentennialx
Colorado Adjutant General (TAG)Centennial 
Colorado Air National GuardCentennial 
Colorado Army National GuardCentennial 
Colorado Office of Homeland SecurityCentennialx
Colorado State Citizen CorpsCentennialx
AFOSI Det 803 OL-A (formerly AFOSI Det 808) (Air Force)Colorado Springs 
AFOSI Det 809 OL-A (Air Force)Colorado Springs 
Colorado Springs Field Office / Colorado Springs Satellite Office (ATF)Colorado Springs 
Colorado Springs Field Office (Defense Sec.)Colorado Springs 
Colorado Springs JTTF Annex (FBI)Colorado Springsx
Colorado Springs Police DepartmentColorado Springsx
Colorado Springs Resident Agency (FBI)Colorado Springs 
Colorado Springs Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Colorado Springs 
El Paso County Sheriff's OfficeColorado Springsx
Fort Carson Military Intelligence DetachmentColorado Springs 
TSA Colorado Springs Operations Center (CSOC)Colorado Springsx
USSS Colorado Springs (Secret Service)Colorado Springs 
Craig Police DepartmentCraigx
RA Craig (ICE)Craig 
AFOSI Det 110 OL-J (Air Force)Denver 
ATAC District of Colo. / Colo. Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (U.S. Attorney)Denverx
Colo. Department of AgricultureDenverx
Colo. Department of Local Affairs Division of Emergency ManagementDenver 
Colo. Department of Public SafetyDenverx
Colo. Department of RevenueDenverx
Colo. District Attorney's CouncilDenverx
Colorado Bureau of InvestigationDenver 
Colorado IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field OfficeDenver 
Colorado State PatrolDenver 
Defense Coordinating Officer/Element FEMA Region VIII (NORTHCOM)Denverx
Denver District Attorney's OfficeDenver 
Denver Division (Postal Inspection)Denver 
Denver Field Division (ATF)Denver 
Denver Field OfficeDenver 
Denver Field Office (FBI)Denver 
Denver Field Office (ICE)Denver 
Denver JTTF 308th Military Intelligence Battalion LiaisonDenverx
Denver JTTF (FBI)Denverx
Denver Police DepartmentDenverx
Denver Resident Office (Defense Sec.)Denver 
FEMA Region VIIIDenver 
FPS Region 8-Denver, Colorado (Fed. Protective Service)Denver 
Mountain Region Security Office (Dept. of Commerce)Denver 
Protective Security Advisor Denver District (DHS)Denverx
Rocky Mountain HIDTA (Nat'l Drug Control)Denver 
Rocky Mountain Regional Office (Dept. of Energy)Denver 
SAC Denver (ICE)Denver 
USAO District of Colorado (U.S. Attorney)Denver 
USMS District of Colorado (Marshals)Denver 
USSS Denver (Secret Service)Denver 
San Miguel County Sheriff's OfficeDove Creekx
Durango Office (Drug Enforcement)Durango 
Durango Resident Agency (FBI)Durango 
RAC Durango (ICE)Durango 
Denver Field Division (Drug Enforcement)Englewood 
Englewood Police DepartmentEnglewoodx
FIG Denver Office of Intelligence(ICE)Englewoodx
Fort Collins Police DepartmentFort Collinsx
Ft. Collins Resident Agency (FBI)Fort Collins 
Fort Carson CID Office (U.S. Army)Ft. Carson 
Rocky Mountain Resident Office (Military Intel.)Ft. Carson 
Glenwood Springs Office (Drug Enforcement)Glenwood Springs 
Glenwood Springs Resident Agency (FBI)Glenwood Springs 
Golden Police DepartmentGoldenx
Jefferson County District AttorneyGoldenx
Grand Junction Office (Drug Enforcement)Grand Junction 
Grand Junction Resident Agency (FBI)Grand Junction 
Mesa County Sheriff's OfficeGrand Junctionx
RAC Grand Junction (ICE)Grand Junction 
Denver Resident Agency (Defense)Greenwood Village 
Colo. Information Analysis Center (CIAC)Lakewoodx
Colo. Law Enforcement Intelligence NetworkLakewood 
Denver Resident Office (Diplomatic Sec.)Lakewood 
FEMA Region VIII MERSLakewood 
Lakewood Police DepartmentLakewoodx
Littleton Police DepartmentLittletonx
Pagosa Springs Police DepartmentPagosa Springsx
AFOSI Det 803 (Air Force)Peterson AFB 
AFOSI Det 809 (Air Force)Peterson AFB 
AFOSI Region 8 (Air Force)Peterson AFB 
Standing Joint Forces Headquarters North (NORTHCOM)Peterson AFBx
U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) HeadquartersPeterson AFBx
Pueblo Resident Agency (FBI)Pueblo 
AFOSI Det 802 OL-B (Air Force)Schriever AFB 
AFOSI Det 807 (Air Force)Schriever AFB 
Steamboat Springs Police DepartmentSteamboat Springsx
Vail Police DepartmentVailx
Westminster Police DepartmentWestminsterx

Colorado is at risk for terrorism (domestic and international) and national security incidents. These incidents could take the form of threats and hoaxes, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, small-scale conventional weapons or explosives, large improvised explosives, or cyber attacks.”

Source: Colorado State Emergency Operations Plan, 2007

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyExtreme heat; Landslide and debris flow; Tornadoes; Winter storms; Extreme cold
Domestic SecurityHomegrown Islamic terrorists
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.
"Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. | Read More »

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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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