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Wisconsin ranks 26th of 50 states in the number of domestically focused counterterrorism and homeland security organizations (tied with Kansas and Minnesota), and 19th overall in organizations established or newly involved in counterterrorism since 9/11. In dollar amount, the state ranked 26th in fiscal 2009 in federal homeland security spending and 25th in domestic preparedness and antiterrorism programs. Measured per capita, the state ranked 21st in overall federal government expenditures.

U.S. intelligence and homeland security agencies and the Department of Justice measure the potential terrorist threat to Wisconsin by analyzing data, including the following: * Wisconsin 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. * Milwaukee 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. The Wisconsin Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) began operating within two weeks of 9/11 and was officially established in January 2002; today Wisconsin is one of 22 states with more than one JTTF. The state-level Wisconsin Homeland Security Council was created in 2003, and Wisconsin has since activated two fusion centers: a statewide center and an urban center in Milwaukee (as one of 16 states with more than one fusion center). In 2009, the Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center (WSIC) became the first in the nation to deploy a Mobile Support Unit, a self-contained support vehicle based around a satellite communications system that allows intelligence analysis and sharing at any incident site. Wisconsin's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has the capability to track and apprehend terrorist suspects by intercepting e-mail and cellphone communications.

State security snapshot

Organizations working on homeland security and counterterrorism: 50

Organizations that started this work after 9/11: 19

62% Pre-9/11

38% Post-9/11

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Wisconsin is divided into six emergency management regions. The state is also divided into six Threat Liaison Officer (TLO) regions that mirror the emergency management regions. The state is located in FEMA Region V; the Defense Coordinating Office responsible for brokering and arranging federal military support for the state is in Chicago.

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 2815750


  • Counterterrorism

    The Wisconsin Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is located in Milwaukee, with a JTTF annex in Madison. Elements of the Wisconsin JTTF began operating immediately after 9/11, and the JTTF was officially established in January 2002. The U.S. attorney chairs Anti-Terrorism Advisory Councils (ATACs) in Milwaukee and Madison.

  • Intelligence

    Wisconsin is a member of the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center (MOCIC) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). At the federal level, the FBI operates a Field Intelligence Group (FIG) in Milwaukee. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group in Chicago has jurisdiction over Wisconsin.

  • Fusion

    Wisconsin operates two fusion centers: The Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center (WSIC), established in 2006, is a component of the state Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation. The all-crimes, all-hazards, all-events center is the state-designated fusion center. In 2009, the WSIC acquired a Mobile Support Unit (MSU) and began deployment of intelligence analysts and special agents to assist local and federal agencies on the scene of major criminal investigations, large spectator events and disaster responses. The WSIC is the first fusion center in the country to obtain and deploy a MSU. The Southeastern Wisconsin Terrorism Alert Center (STAC), established in 2006, is a component of the Milwaukee Police Department. The Milwaukee Area Urban Areas Security Initiative and fusion center has an all-crimes, all-hazards and counterterrorism mission.

  • Homeland Security

    The Wisconsin Homeland Security Council, established in 2003, is the governor's advisory body, chaired by the adjutant general of the Wisconsin National Guard, who also serves as the state homeland security adviser. There are a number of additional groups that address matters related to homeland security, including the Catastrophic Planning Group and the Infrastructure Protection Working Group. To assist in critical-infrastructure protection, the DHS Protective Security Advisor in Milwaukee has jurisdiction over Wisconsin. A Wisconsin Agro-Security Working Group, chaired by the FBI, facilitates information and technology sharing between public and private entities to bolster Wisconsin's agriculture and food security posture.

  • Law Enforcement

    The Wisconsin State Patrol, part of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT), is the statewide law enforcement agency. The Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation (DOJ-DCI) investigates crimes that are statewide in nature or importance, including financial crimes, computer crimes and drug trafficking. The DOJ-DCI also hosts the state's intelligence fusion center, the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC). The Capitol Police, a division of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, includes dignitary-protection services. The FBI's Milwaukee field office has resident agencies and satellite offices in Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison and Wausau.

  • Emergency Management

    The Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management, under the Department of Military Affairs, is the state agency for coordinating disaster/emergency preparedness. The Wisconsin State Emergency Operations Center is operated by the Division of Emergency Management.

Sourcing: Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department and state government documents.
OrganizationCityStarted since 9/11
Eau Claire Resident Agency (FBI)Eau Claire 
Fort McCoy RA (U.S. Army)Fort McCoy 
Green Bay Office (Drug Enforcement)Green Bay 
Green Bay Police DepartmentGreen Bay 
Green Bay Resident Agency (FBI)Green Bay 
La Crosse Resident Agency (FBI)La Crosse 
54th Civil Support Team (Nat'l Guard)Madisonx
ATAC Western District of Wisc. (U.S. Attorney)Madisonx
Dane County Sheriff's OfficeMadisonx
Madison JTTF Annex (FBI)Madisonx
Madison Office (Drug Enforcement)Madison 
Madison Police DepartmentMadisonx
Madison Resident Agency (FBI)Madison 
Madison, WI (Group I Field Office) (ATF)Madison 
University of Wisconsin Police DepartmentMadisonx
USAO Western District of Wisconsin (U.S. Attorney)Madison 
USMS Western District of Wisconsin (Marshals)Madison 
USSS Madison (Secret Service)Madison 
Wisc. Department of AdministrationMadisonx
Wisc. Emergency Management AgencyMadison 
Wisc. Homeland Security AdvisorMadisonx
Wisc. Homeland Security CouncilMadisonx
Wisc. National Guard Drug Control ProgramMadison 
Wisconsin Air National GuardMadison 
Wisconsin Army National GuardMadison 
Wisconsin Citizen CorpsMadisonx
Wisconsin Division of Capitol PoliceMadisonx
Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)Madisonx
Wisconsin Office of Justice AssistanceMadison 
Wisconsin State PatrolMadison 
Wisconsin Statewide Information Center/ Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center (WSIC)Madisonx
Eastern District of Wisc. ATAC (U.S. Attorney)Milwaukeex
Milwaukee County Sheriff's OfficeMilwaukeex
Milwaukee Field Office (FBI)Milwaukee 
Milwaukee HIDTA (Nat'l Drug Control)Milwaukee 
Milwaukee JTTF / Wisc. JTTF (FBI)Milwaukeex
Milwaukee Office (Drug Enforcement)Milwaukee 
Milwaukee Police DepartmentMilwaukeex
Milwaukee Post of Duty (Defense)Milwaukee 
Milwaukee Satellite Office (ATF)Milwaukee 
Protective Security Advisor Milwaukee District (DHS)Milwaukeex
RAC Milwaukee (ICE)Milwaukee 
Southeastern Wisc. Terrorism Alert Center (STAC) / Milwaukee Area UASI and Fusion CenterMilwaukeex
USAO Eastern District of Wisconsin (U.S. Attorney)Milwaukee 
USMS Eastern District of Wisconsin (Marshals)Milwaukee 
USSS Milwaukee (Secret Service)Milwaukee 
Kenosha Resident Agency (FBI)Pleasant Prairie 
Waukesha County Sheriffs DepartmentWaukesha 
Wausau Resident Agency (FBI)Wausau 
Milwaukee Resident Office (Drug Enforcement)West Milwaukee 

Wisconsin also faces significant human-caused risks. There are a number of active extremist groups in the state, including fringe animal rights, environmental, pro-sovereign, and white supremacist organizations that pose an ongoing threat to researchers, government agencies, and businesses. In addition, hazardous materials threats result from production and transportation of man-made chemicals. Finally, the threat of terrorism cannot be discounted in Wisconsin, especially the risk to key infrastructure targets and Cyberterrorism.”

Source: State of Wisconsin Homeland Security Strategy, 2009-2011

Agriculture is a $51 billion industry in Wisconsin. To help protect our economy and our food supply, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has completed two major plans relating to food safety and helped to create a network of government and industry groups to facilitate industry-wide food safety awareness. Future initiatives will expand collaboration among government agencies and the industry and develop new plans for sensitive areas.”

Source: Annual Report 2008, Wisconsin Homeland Security

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