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New National Terrorism Advisory System Goes into Effect

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today the implementation of the new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), replacing the color-coded alert that had been in effect since 2002. The new system seeks to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector. The new system will go into effect on April 26, 2011.

NTAS alerts will be defined in one of two ways:

Elevated Threat:
Warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States

Imminent Threat:
Warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States

Read DHS's public guide outlining the new system.

As with DHS's "See Something, Say Something" campaign, the new NTAS recognizes that Americans share responsibility for the nation's security and should be aware of potential threats and how to best respond to them.

"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 U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "The National Terrorism Advisory System . . . will provide the American public with information about credible threats so that they can better protect themselves, their families, and their communities."

In its ongoing commitment to bolster homeland security and emergency preparedness, the American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) actively works to accelerate the development and adoption of voluntary consensus standards critical to homeland security.

On May 25, the ANSI-HSSP will host Achieving Preparedness through Standards Implementation: Challenges and Opportunities for Small Businesses, a workshop focusing on the unique needs of small businesses in preparing for unforeseen challenges. [see related news item]

Earlier this year, the ANSI-HSSP issued a report on standards and conformance-based solutions to support aviation, border, and maritime security, crisis management, and global supply chain security. An ANSI-HSSP report on emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities and special needs was issued in November 2010.

For more information, visit

The new NTAS alerts will provide clear, concise information on the nature of the potential threat, including geographic region, the mode of transportation or critical infrastructure potentially affected, actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps for individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to take to help prevent, mitigate, or respond to a threat.

Depending on 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 official and social media channels.

The new alerts will also contain a "sunset" provision indicating a specific date when the alert expires. Should a specific threat evolve or new information become available, alerts may be extended, but there will no blanket warning of an overarching threat.

For more information, or to receive NTAS alerts, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]