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West Virginia

West Virginia ranks 36th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations (tied with Connecticut and Montana), and 22nd overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11 (tied with Arkansas and Minnesota). In dollar amount, the state ranked 36th in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 37th in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 20th in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to West Virginia by analyzing data, including the following: * West Virginia is one of 15 states that have had no terrorism convictions since 9/11, 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. West Virginia hosts the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg, which opened at a sprawling campus in 1995. With 2,500 employees, it is the largest overall FBI division, and with a budget of roughly $1 billion, it accounts for about one-seventh of the FBI's total budget. It is a major homeland security player and a major employer in West Virginia, housing the criminal and terrorism files of the nation, including the Known or Suspected Terrorist File (formerly known as the Violent Gang/Terrorist Organization File). The FBI has created a Biometric Center of Excellence in West Virginia to focus on domestic biometrics, and the Department of Homeland Security's biometrics program is co-located in West Virginia. In February 2008, West Virginia University (WVU) and the FBI signed an agreement making the university the lead academic partner in the nation in biometrics research. The Defense Department's Biometrics Fusion Center makes West Virginia the hub for governmental biometrics, and it is the repository of foreign biometrics data collected on the battlefield and worldwide.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 38

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 16

57.9% Pre-9/11

42.1% Post-9/11

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West Virginia is divided into six homeland security regions. The state is located in FEMA Region III; the Defense Coordinating Officer responsible for the state is in Philadelphia.

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 2311438


  • Counterterrorism

    The West Virginia Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Fairmont is subordinate to the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia JTTF in Pittsburgh. Two additional JTTF annexes are operated in Charleston and Clarksburg. The U.S. attorney chairs Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) in Wheeling and Charleston.

  • Intelligence

    West Virginia is a member of the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) and the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC). It is also a member of Southern Shield, a consortium of homeland security and law enforcement officials from 14 Southeastern states and territories. At the federal level, the FBI Pittsburgh Field Intelligence Group (FIG) covers West Virginia. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in Philadelphia has jurisdiction over West Virginia.

  • Fusion

    The West Virginia Intelligence Exchange (also known as the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center) was established in 2008 and is a component of the state Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. The state-designated fusion center is also a member of the five-state/D.C. National Capital Region Fusion Center Directors Exchange Program, which include analyst exchanges, regional Suspicious Activity Reporting exchange, Terrorist Screening Center notifications, and exchanges of criminal or border crime data.

  • Homeland Security

    The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, part of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, is the all-hazards agency responsible for counterterrorism. To assist in critical infrastructure protection, a DHS Protective Security Advisor is located in Charleston. West Virginia 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 Department's Defense Industrial Base (DIB).

  • Law Enforcement

    The West Virginia State Police is the statewide law enforcement agency. The Statistical Analysis Center, a unit of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, collects and analyzes criminal data and information. West Virginia falls under the jurisdiction of the FBI's Pittsburgh field office, which has resident agencies in Beckley, Charleston, Clarksburg, Huntington, Martinsburg and Wheeling.

  • Emergency Management

    The West Virginia Office of Emergency Services, part of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is the state agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness. The State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated in response to large-scale emergencies beyond the resources of local emergency services offices.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
Harrison County Sheriff's Department x
Beckley Resident Agency (FBI)Beckley 
ATAC Southern District of W.Va. (U.S. Attorney)Charlestonx
Charleston Field Office (Postal Inspection)Charleston 
Charleston JTTF Annex (FBI)Charlestonx
Charleston Resident Agency (FBI)Charleston 
Charleston Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)Charleston 
Charleston Satellite Office (ATF)Charleston 
Protective Security Advisor Charleston District (DHS)Charlestonx
RAC Charleston (ICE)Charleston 
USAO Southern District of West Virginia (U.S. Attorney)Charleston 
USMS Southern District of W. Va. (Marshals)Charleston 
USSS Charleston (Secret Service)Charleston 
West Virginia Air National GuardCharleston 
West Virginia Citizen Corps CouncilCharlestonx
West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public SafetyCharleston 
W. Va. Division of Homeland Security and Emergency ManagementCharlestonx
W. Va. Div. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management SEOCCharleston 
W. Va. Fire MarshalCharlestonx
Clarksburg JTTF Annex (FBI)Clarksburgx
Clarksburg Resident Agency (FBI)Clarksburg 
USMS Northern District of West Virginia (Marshals)Clarksburg 
West Virginia JTTF (FBI)Fairmontx
Huntington Resident Agency (FBI)Huntington 
Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC) (Nat'l Guard)Kingwoodx
West Virginia Army National GuardKingwood 
Martinsburg Resident Agency (FBI)Martinsburg 
Martinsburg Satellite Office (ATF)Martinsburg 
Parkersburg Police DepartmentParkersburgx
West Virginia State PoliceSouth Charlestonx
35th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)St. Albansx
W. Va. Intelligence Fusion Center (WVIFC) / West Virginia Fusion Center (Nat'l Guard)St. Albans 
Vienna Police DepartmentViennax
ATAC Northern District of W.Va. (U.S. Attorney)Wheelingx
USAO Northern District of West Virginia (U.S. Attorney)Wheeling 
Wheeling Police DepartmentWheelingx
Wheeling Resident Agency (FBI)Wheeling 
Wheeling Satellite Office (ATF)Wheeling 

Our State is home to over one hundred chemical plants, multiple coal-fired power plants, hundreds of miles of natural gas transmission lines, a port that is the 6th busiest in America in terms of tonnage, miles of coal mines, and a burgeoning coal bed methane gas industry and robust locks and dams systems. West Virginia occupies a critical place in the nations electrical grid. There is a multitude of public and private critical infrastructure in this state that interfaces with the economy, communications, energy and other integral resources that are critical to the continuity of life in the eastern portion of the United States. ... However, the greatest concern ... has an impact that reaches far beyond our states borders and has the potential to affect millions of Americans. It is no secret that Washington D.C. and New York City are at the top of the international terrorist hit list and that today's terrorists are looking at how to inflict the most catastrophic of blows on our nation. Therefore, it is not unreasonable, nor should we overlook the potential of a terrorist chemical, nuclear, biological or radiological attack on our nation's capital. Should this occur, it is of great concern to West Virginia, that vast numbers of Americans will evacuate the Baltimore-Washington area in a chaotic uncontrolled exodus.”

Source: James W. Spears, West Virginia Homeland Security Advisor and Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, Jan. 25, 2007

State-Recognized Threats:
Public SafetyFloods; Thunderstorms; Tornadoes; Winter storms; Extreme cold
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.
"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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