National Terrorism Advisory System

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The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) is a two-level terrorism threat advisory scale used by the United States Department of Homeland Security since April 26, 2011.[1][2] The system was announced on January 27, 2011 by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano during a speech at George Washington University. Her official announcement followed reports of the NTAS that had surfaced the day before.[3] The NTAS is the replacement for the often-criticized, color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System introduced by the George W. Bush administration in 2002.[1] Napolitano said the color-coded system often presented "little practical information" to the public, and that the NTAS will provide alerts "specific to the threat" with "a specified end date."[3]

When introducing the National Terrorism Advisory System, Napolitano said, "Today I announce the end of the old system of color-coded alerts. In its place, we will implement a new system that's built on a clear and simple premise: When a threat develops that could impact you—the public—we will tell you. We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities."[4] Her speech at George Washington University was timed to complement US President Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address, which occurred two days earlier.[5]

As of June 2014, the NTAS has never issued an alert.

Background[edit]

The color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System is the predecessor to the NTAS.

The Homeland Security Advisory System was created in response to the 9/11 attacks by the administration of US President George W. Bush. After the announcement of the NTAS, Peter King, a Republican US Congressman from New York, said the color-based assessments were useful at the time of their creation, but a more specific system was now needed.[6] The five-level color system has been criticized as being vague and ineffective, and alert levels have rarely changed from the yellow ("elevated") and orange ("high") levels.[3][6] Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said the color codes were often better at causing "Americans to be scared" rather than telling citizens "the reason, how to proceed, or for how long to be on alert."[7] The color-coded system has also been targeted by television comedians and shows such as Saturday Night Live, where it has been ridiculed.[8] In July 2009, Napolitano created a task force to reassess this scale; it concluded that the Homeland Security Advisory System was unclear and lacked public support—enough so that the task force recommended discontinuing the scale.[4] In November 2010, the Department of Homeland Security submitted a draft plan to overhaul the color system and create what one official called "a system that communicates precise, actionable information based on the latest intelligence."[1]

Alert system[edit]

Under the National Terrorism Advisory System, alerts will be issued under either the category of "elevated" or "imminent."[1] According to Napolitano, "When [the Department of Homeland Security has] information about a specific, credible threat, [it] will issue a formal alert providing as much information as [it] can."[3] This includes providing government agencies and emergency officials with threat assessments, as well as using news outlets and social networking resources to notify the public.[6] It will also outline steps to take in response to a particular terrorist threat.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Mathes, Michael (January 27, 2011). "New US terror alert system replaces color code". Google News (Agence France-Presse). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Orange alert ends with new US alert system". Google News (Agence France-Presse). April 20, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d CNN Wire Staff (January 27, 2011). "U.S. replaces color-coded terror alerts". CNN News (Cable News Network). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Ryan, Jason; Thomas, Pierre (January 27, 2011). "Color Coded Terror Alerts Retired by Department of Homeland Security". ABC News (ABC News Internet Ventures). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Miller, Greg (January 27, 2011). "Obama administration to replace color-coded terror alerts with new warning system". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Color-coded terror warnings to be gone by April 27". Google News. Associated Press. January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ Alberts, Sheldon (January 27, 2011). "Colourful U.S. terror-warning system will fade away". The Vancouver Sun (Postmedia Network Inc.). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Bliss, Jeff (January 27, 2011). "U.S. Will Scrap Color-Coded Terror Alerts, Napolitano Says". Bloomberg (Bloomberg L.P.). Retrieved January 27, 2011. 

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