US Terror Alert System - End of Color-Coded Terror Alert System

The Department of Homeland Security (The U.S. Government: How It Works)
Code Red: Colorful US Terror Alert System to End
Thursday, January 27th, 2011- VOA

The Obama administration is scrapping the color-coded terror alert system put in place after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Speaking in Washington Thursday, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the old system will be replaced with one that notifies authorities and the public about specific threats.

The old system, established in 2002, has five advisory levels ranging from low threat level to a severe threat level, but it does not identify specific threats.

Napolitano said the new system will provide a concise summary of the threat, and will include recommended steps for individuals and communities to take.

The color-coded system has been the subject of criticism and even ridicule ever since its inception, with some critics saying it is too vague to be of any use.

U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson, the leading Democrat on the House's Homeland Security Commission, said the current system “taught Americans to be scared, not prepared.”

Republican Peter King, the committee's chairman, said the Bush-era system served a valuable purpose, but says it is time to replace it with a more targeted system.

The old system used five colors to indicate the potential threat of a terrorist attack: green for low, blue for guarded, yellow for elevated, orange for high, and red for severe.

The threat level only reached the highest red level once, in August 2006, for flights coming into the United States from Britain. The low-level blue and green codes have never been used.

The overall national threat level is currently elevated, or yellow, while the threat level for international and domestic flights is high, or orange.

Napolitano said, “the new system reflects the reality that we must always be on alert and be ready.”

Code Red: Colorful US Terror Alert System to End - article came from VOA

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