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Rhode Island

Rhode Island ranks 50th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations, and 49th overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11 (tied with Vermont). In dollar amount, the state ranked 46th in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 41st in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 18th in overall federal government expenditures.

Rhode Island is one of 15 states and territories that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. intelligence agencies assess as having no specific foreign or domestic terrorism threat, and is one of 15 states that have had no terrorism convictions since 9/11, according to the Justice Department. The Rhode Island Emergency Operations Plan ranks terrorism as 12th out of 13 threats to the state. Providence 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.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 21

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 6

71.4% Pre-9/11

28.6% Post-9/11

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Rhode Island is located in FEMA Region I; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is in Boston.

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 1010121


  • Counterterrorism

    The Providence Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) annex is subordinate to the FBI's Boston field office. The U.S. attorney chairs an Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) in Providence.

  • Intelligence

    Rhode Island is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the New England State Police Information Network (NESPIN). At the federal level, the FBI's Boston Field Intelligence Group (FIG) covers Rhode Island. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in Boston has jurisdiction over Rhode Island.

  • Fusion

    The Rhode Island State Fusion Center, established in 2006, is a component of the Rhode Island State Police. The state-designated center is co-located with the FBI field office and JTTF and focuses primarily on counterterrorism.

  • Homeland Security

    The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) is the state's liaison to the DHS. Its mission is to coordinate the government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terrorism. To assist in critical infrastructure protection, the DHS Protective Security Advisor in New Haven has jurisdiction over Rhode Island.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Rhode Island State Police is the statewide law enforcement agency. Rhode Island falls under the jurisdiction of the FBI's Boston field office, which maintains a resident office in Providence.

  • Emergency Management

    The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) in Cranston is the state agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Advisory Council (RI EMAC), chaired by the lieutenant governor, deals with domestic preparedness and emergency management.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
13th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Coventryx
Rhode Island Adjutant General (TAG)Cranston 
Rhode Island Air National GuardCranston 
Rhode Island Army National GuardCranston 
Rhode Island State Citizen CorpsCranstonx
R.I. Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA)Cranston 
R.I. Homeland SecurityCranstonx
R.I. National Guard JFHQCranstonx
NCIS Northeast Field Office (Navy)Newport 
Rhode Island State PoliceNorth Scituate 
R.I. Fusion Center (State Police)North Scituate 
Providence Field Office (ATF)Providence 
Providence JTTF Annex (FBI)Providencex
Providence Resident Agency (FBI)Providence 
RAC Providence (ICE)Providence 
Rhode Island ATAC (U.S. Attorney)Providencex
USAO District of Rhode Island (U.S. Attorney)Providence 
USMS District of Rhode Island (Marshals)Providence 
USSS Providence (Secret Service)Providence 
Providence Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Warwick 
Warwick Police DepartmentWarwick 

Ongoing threats from both foreign governments and radical terrorist groups to bring terrorism 'to the shores of America' cannot be taken lightly. Advances in weapons lethality and sophistication, the open nature of a democratic society, and the vulnerability of Rhode Island's critical facilities and networks combine to form an environment which poses extreme problems and unique challenges to the State's civil and military authorities. RIEMA examined critical facilities within the state and has set priorities for the deployment of law enforcement officials if the state is ever confronted with a terrorist threat.”

Source: Rhode Island Emergency Operations Plan, 2004

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyExtreme heat; Floods; Hurricanes
Domestic SecurityNone identified.
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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