16 September 2021
The Pacific Fusion Centre: the challenge of sharing information and intelligence in the Pacific
By Dr David Brewster
The Pacific Fusion Centre: the challenge of sharing information and intelligence in the Pacific examines the Australian-sponsored Pacific Fusion Centre (PFC) which is due to open permanent offices in Vanuatu later this year.
The PFC was set up in 2019 as an outcome of the 2018 Boe Declaration with the mandate of providing strategic intelligence to Pacific Island states to assist in high-level policy formulation on human security, environmental security, transnational crime and cybersecurity. The report argues that the impact of these assessments may be limited, including due to the open-source nature of the information.
There are also widespread misperceptions about the PFC’s role. Unlike regional information fusion centres elsewhere in the region, the PFC will not produce actionable intelligence on specific security threats. For example, identifying vessels that are engaged in illegal fishing or smuggling people, arms or drugs.
The Pacific still sorely needs a regional centre to fuse and share actionable intelligence in the maritime domain. Australia needs to consider how it can best move to fill this important intelligence gap.
The Report concludes that the PFC may be a useful soft-power initiative, but the Pacific still sorely needs a regional information fusion centre to produce and share actionable intelligence in the maritime domain.