Skip to main content

DHS Unveils New Terrorism Threat Alert System


The Department of Homeland Security unveiled its new National Terrorism Advisory System in New York City.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a new terror advisory system at Grand Central Station Wednesday.  The system will no longer use color coded levels like orange and red, and instead will announce threats as either imminent or elevated. The elevated threat warns of a credible threat against the country, and imminent threat describes an impending threat against specific targets.

“I don’t want people living in fear, we want people to live in a state of alertness and awareness and we want people to know how they can help themselves, and how they can assist their community," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano when she unveiled the new system. 

Secretary Napolitano called the old color-coded system outdated, and uninformative.  She said the new system will tell people how they can protect themselves. “[The alerts] will give you a summary, they will give you as many details as we can provide in an unclassified form, they will say how you can help, what you need to do to stay prepared, and what you need to do to say informed.”

The new alert system will use conventional media and new social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach large audiences.  The alerts will also have expiration dates, unless new information comes along requiring the alerts to be extended.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly joined DHS Secretary Napolitano in the announcement at Grand Central today.  He said since 9/11 New York has had twelve terrorist plots.  He said the new terrorist system will help New Yorkers stay aware and informed towards specific threats.

Fred Goldberger of Roseland Heights, Long Island said he did not see much of a difference between the two systems. “The other one seemed to be staying at orange for the past few years, so, at least this one, if nothing else, will tell you what is going on, while giving more information.”

The new system will take effect on April 26, 2011. The Department of Homeland Security will be announcing threats on their website: