Homeland Security Launches New Terrorism Alert System


Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano has announced a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) that provides timely information to the public about credible terrorist threats and replaces the former color-coded alert system. The advisories include transportation, DHS said, and NTAS alerts will be prominently displayed in transit hubs and airports.

NTAS Alerts will include a clear statement on the nature of the threat, which will be defined in one of two ways. An Elevated Threat warns of a credible terrorist threat against the U.S. while an Imminent Threat warns of a credible, specific and impending terrorist threat against the U.S.

The DHS has also released a public guide outlining the new system to the American public, along with an example of an NTAS alert that would be issued to the public if the government were to receive information about a specific or credible terrorist threat.

“The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly over the past ten years, and in today’s environment—more than ever—we know that the best security strategy is one that counts on the American public as a key partner in securing our country,” said Napolitano.

Under the NTAS, the DHS will coordinate with other federal entities to issue detailed alerts to the public when the federal government receives information about a credible terrorist threat. NTAS alerts are intended to provide a concise summary of the potential threat including geographic region, mode of transportation, or critical infrastructure potentially affected by the threat, actions being taken to ensure public safety, as well as recommended steps that individuals, communities, business and governments can take to help prevent, mitigate or respond to a threat.

Depending on the nature of the threat, DHS alerts may be sent to law enforcement, distributed to affected areas of the private sector, or issued more broadly to the public through both official and social media channels—including a designated DHS webpage (www.dhs.gov/alerts), Facebook and via Twitter (@NTASAlerts). NTAS alerts and posters will also be displayed in places such as transit hubs, airports and government buildings.

NTAS threat alerts will be issued for a specific time period and will automatically expire. Alerts may be extended if new information becomes available or as a specific threat evolves.

Visit www.dhs.gov/alerts.

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