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Tennessee ranks 14th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations, and 16th overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11 (tied with Missouri and Pennsylvania). In dollar amount, the state ranked 32nd in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 24th in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 19th in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to Tennessee by analyzing data, including the following: * The state is one of 13 states or territories where U.S. attorneys secured one terrorism conviction from Sept. 11, 2001, through March 2010, according to the Justice Department. * The state has two 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: Memphis and Nashville. * Tennessee has the fifth-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 position of deputy to the governor for homeland security was created within three weeks of 9/11, and a Tennessee Homeland Security Council stood up in 2002 to ensure statewide coordination and implementation of homeland-security-related initiatives. The Office of Homeland Security was activated in April 2003, and the Tennessee Fusion Center followed in May 2007. Tennessee has been the proving ground for several information-sharing projects. It is part of Southern Shield, a consortium of homeland security and law enforcement officials from 14 Southeastern states and territories that is piloting the Justice Department’s new Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative. Under the initiative, state agencies collect information about suspicious activities and pass it to the FBI for investigation or to the Department of Homeland Security for analysis. The state has three FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) and is one of 22 states with more than one JTTF.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 82

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 20

75.6% Pre-9/11

24.4% Post-9/11

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Tennessee is divided into 11 homeland security districts and has more than 1,000 law enforcement officers who participate in counterterrorism and homeland security missions. Tennessee is located in FEMA Region IV; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is 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 6020282


  • Counterterrorism

    Tennessee has three Joint Terrorism Task Forces, one in each FBI field office (in Knoxville and Memphis) and a JTTF annex in Nashville. The U.S. attorney chairs Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville.

  • Intelligence

    Tennessee is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC). The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Intelligence Center in Nashville, a component of the ROCIC, covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At the federal level, the FBI operates Field Intelligence Groups (FIGs) in Knoxville and Memphis. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in New Orleans has jurisdiction over Tennessee.

  • Fusion

    The Tennessee Fusion Center (TFC) (originally known as the Tennessee Regional Information Center), established in May 2007 and operated by the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS) and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), is the state's designated fusion center. The Memphis Police Department Real Time Crime Center (RTTC), opened in early 2008, though not an intelligence fusion center, combines state-of-the-art video surveillance with sophisticated data systems and software to offer a seamless online situational awareness picture of the Memphis area. Using special software and geographic information systems, police receive instant information about recent criminal activity in a radius around a crime, existing crime patterns in the neighborhood and a history of people with arrest records who may frequent the area. Officers stationed in the crime center headquarters are able to watch footage on a large video wall and dispatch officers to a location before anyone calls to report a crime in progress. The RTCC is also a core component of homeland security and serves as the western Tennessee hub for all law enforcement, channeling terrorism-related information to the TFC in Nashville.

  • Homeland Security

    The Tennessee Office of Homeland Security (OHS), an element of the Tennessee Department of Safety (TDOS), has responsibility and authority for directing statewide activities pertaining to the prevention of and protection from terrorist-related events. The OHS reports to the state commissioner of safety and homeland security. The OHS and the agencies of the Governor's Homeland Security Council assess critical infrastructure and develop plans to reduce vulnerabilities, making use of the scientific expertise of the Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To assist in critical-infrastructure protection, DHS Protective Security Advisors are stationed in Memphis and Nashville.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is the state's primary criminal investigative agency responsible for managing the state's three crime labs and investigating crimes related to illegal drugs, fugitives, public corruption, official misconduct, organized crime and domestic terrorism. The Tennessee Department of Safety is responsible for the safety of more than 87,000 miles of state and federal highways, and includes the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The FBI's Knoxville and Memphis field offices operate resident agencies and satellite offices in Chattanooga, Cleveland, Greenville, Johnson City, Oak Ridge, Tullahoma, Winchester, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Jackson and Nashville.

  • Emergency Management

    The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), reporting to the state's adjutant general, is the state agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), located in the TEMA facility in Nashville, maintains state situational awareness on a day-to-day basis 24/7 and is the hub to receive all emergency warning, communications and response requests.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
AFOSI Det 106 (Air Force)Arnold AFB 
Nashville Field Division (ATF)Brentwood 
Postal Inspection Service (Postal Inspection)Brentwood 
Chattanooga Post of Duty (Drug Enforcement)Chattanooga 
Chattanooga Resident Agency (FBI)Chattanooga 
Chattanooga Satellite Office (ATF)Chattanooga 
Postal Inspection Service (Postal Inspection)Chattanooga 
RA Chattanooga (ICE)Chattanooga 
USSS Chattanooga (Secret Service)Chattanooga 
Clarksville Resident Agency (FBI)Clarksville 
Cleveland Resident Agency (FBI)Cleveland 
Columbia Resident Agency (FBI)Columbia 
Cookeville Resident Agency (FBI)Cookeville 
Greenville FBI (FBI)Greeneville 
Jackson Resident Agency (FBI)Jackson 
Jackson Satellite Office (ATF)Jackson 
Tenn. Emergency Management Agency West Region OfficeJackson 
Johnson City Post of Duty (Drug Enforcement)Johnson City 
Johnson City Resident Agency (FBI)Johnson City 
Johnson City Satellite Office (ATF)Johnson City 
Washington County Sheriff’s OfficeJonesborough 
Eastern District of Tenn. ATAC (U.S. Attorney)Knoxvillex
Knox County SheriffKnoxvillex
Knoxville Division (FBI)Knoxville 
Knoxville JTTF (FBI)Knoxvillex
Knoxville Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Knoxville 
Knoxville Satellite Office (ATF)Knoxville 
Postal Inspection Service (Postal Inspection)Knoxville 
RAC Knoxville (ICE)Knoxville 
Tenn. Emergency Management Agency East Region OfficeKnoxville 
USAO Eastern District of Tennessee (U.S. Attorney)Knoxville 
USMS Eastern District of Tennessee (Marshals)Knoxville 
USSS Knoxville (Secret Service)Knoxville 
Memphis Satellite Office (ATF)Melville 
ASAC Memphis (ICE)Memphis 
ATAC Western District of Tenn. (U.S. Attorney)Memphisx
City of Memphis Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) (formerly Shelby County Sensor Fusion Center (SCFC)Memphisx
Memphis (FBI)Memphis 
Memphis Field Office (FBI)Memphis 
Memphis Field Office (Postal Inspection)Memphis 
Memphis Financial Crimes Task Force (Secret Service)Memphis 
Memphis JTTF (FBI)Memphisx
Memphis Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Memphis 
Postal Inspection Service (Postal Inspection)Memphis 
Protective Security Advisor Memphis District (DHS)Memphisx
USAO Western District of Tennessee (U.S. Attorney)Memphis 
USMS Western District of Tennessee (Marshals)Memphis 
USSS Memphis (Secret Service)Memphis 
NCIS Resident Agency Memphis (Navy)Millington 
ATAC Middle District of Tenn. (U.S. Attorney)Nashvillex
IRS Criminal Investigation, Nashville Field OfficeNashville 
Nashville JTTF Annex (FBI)Nashvillex
Nashville Post of Duty (Defense)Nashville 
Nashville Resident Agency (FBI)Nashville 
Nashville Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Nashville 
Protective Security Advisor Nashville District (DHS)Nashvillex
RAC Nashville (ICE)Nashville 
Regional Organized Crime Information CenterNashville 
Tenn. Department of General ServicesNashvillex
Tenn. Emergency Management Agency Middle Region OfficeNashville 
Tenn. Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)Nashville 
Tennessee Adjutant General (TAG)Nashville 
Tennessee Air National GuardNashville 
Tennessee Army National GuardNashville 
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)Nashville 
Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC)Nashvillex
Tennessee Department of SafetyNashville 
Tennesseee Board of Probation and ParoleNashvillex
Tennessee State Citizen CorpsNashvillex
Tenn. Fusion Center (Tennessee Regional Information Center) (Tenn. Bur. of Investigation)Nashvillex
Tenn. Governor's Office of Homeland SecurityNashvillex
Tenn. Homeland Security CouncilNashvillex
Tenn. National Guard JFHQNashvillex
Tenn. Office of Homeland SecurityNashvillex
USAO Middle District of Tennessee (U.S. Attorney)Nashville 
USMS Middle District of Tennessee (Marshals)Nashville 
USSS Nashville (Secret Service)Nashville 
Oak Ridge Nat'l Lab. (Dept. of Energy)Oak Ridge 
Oak Ridge Resident Agency (FBI)Oak Ridge 
45th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Smyrnax
Tullahoma Resident Agency (FBI)Tullahoma 
Winchester Resident Agency (FBI)Winchester 

The threat of people who are unhappy with the current political or economic situation trying to change or acquire things by force continues to be a problem for our society. These threats will continue to be likely until some means of preventing violence is found.”

Source: Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Web site, 2010

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyExtreme heat; Floods; Thunderstorms; Tornadoes
Domestic SecurityJamaat ul-Fuqra; White supremacists
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 »

More than a dozen Washington Post journalists spent two years developing Top Secret America. | See the details »


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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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