Department of Homeland Security Ditches Color-Coded Alert System

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, recently announced that the Department of Homeland Security will no longer use color-coded terror alerts.  The new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), was created to more effectively communicate specific information about terrorist threats rather than just a generalized warning.

The original color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) was established in 2002 and had only been adjusted 16 times and had never gone below the yellow/elevated risk level.  A task force was appointed by Napolitano in 2009 to review the system and make recommendations.  In their report it was noted that the “Task Force membership believes the color code system has suffered from a lack of credibility and clarity leading to an erosion of public confidence such that it should be abandoned.”

According to the press release issued on January 27, 2011 by the Department of Homeland Security, “Under the new system, DHS will coordinate with other federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts when the federal government receives information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an “imminent threat” or “elevated threat.” The alerts also will provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities, businesses and governments can take.”

Read the official press release here: http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1296158119383.shtm

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