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New National Terrorism Advisory System Unveiled

May 3, 2011 – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently announced the new DHS National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), which does away with the five color-coded system put in place after 9/11 and replaces it with a two-tiered setup: “Elevated Threat,” warning of a credible terrorist threat against the United States, and “Imminent Threat,” warning of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat. The new NTAS went into effect on April 26, 2011.

Under the current color-coded system, we are in condition “yellow,” or elevated. Under the new system, it would not warrant any alert.

Napolitano also stressed that DHS relies on the American public to come forward with suspicious information in order for the system to work, incorporating the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s trademark slogan, “If You See Something, Say Something,” into its alerts.

“The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly over the past 10 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,” she said.

Also new is the way the government will get the word out on threat advisories. Depending on the nature of the threat, 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 such as on the DHS website, Facebook, and 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.

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