DHS debuts National Terrorism Advisory System

Agency dumps color-coded terror warnings in favor of new, more precise alerts


Following news this week that the Department of Homeland Security is dumping the color-coded terror alert system that has been in place since shortly after Sept. 11, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday unveiled the new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS).

The system, which is intended to more clearly communicate terror threats to the public and other authorities, will be implemented over the next 90 days. Under the NTAS, DHS says it will coordinate with other federal agencies to issue alerts when credible information is received about a potential terror threat.

"This new system is built on a clear and simple premise: when a credible threat develops that could impact the public, we will tell you and provide whatever information we can so that you know how to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe," Napolitano said in a statement posted on the DHS website.

In some cases, the DHS says that alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement agencies or organizations affected in the private sector. Others will be issued to the general public through both official and media channels. The agency will also use its website, www.dhs.gov/alerts, as well as social media outlets including Facebook and Twitter to communicate alerts to the public.

In addition, the agency says that the alerts under the new system will indicate if there is an "imminent threat" or an "elevated threat" and will contain a summary of what the potential threat involves and what’s being done to protect the public. NTAS alerts will also contain a "sunset provision," according to the DHS, meaning that that they will contain a specified end date, which could be extended based upon available information or depending on how the threat evolves.

Click here to read the full press release.