Color Coded Terror Alerts Retired by Department of Homeland Security

DHS to put out specific information instead.

ByABC News
January 27, 2011, 5:12 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2011 -- Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced today that the color coded terrorism alert system would end within 90 days. It will be replaced, she said, with a new two-tiered system to provide clear and specific information about terrorist threats, and actions people should take.

"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." Napolitano said. "We will provide whatever information we can so you know how to protect yourselves, your families, and your communities."

Napolitano called the new threat warning method the National Terrorism Advisory System. Napolitano made the announcement in a speech at George Washington University, where she also urged students to consider a career with the Department.

"Under the new, two-tiered system, DHS will coordinate with other Federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts regarding information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an 'imminent threat' or 'elevated threat.'" Napolitano said.

Napolitano said that the new system, unlike the old one, will have specified end dates when there is an alert. Napolitano said that was possible because of better intelligence collection and analysis.

"The Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, and the entire intelligence community, of which DHS is a member, is producing more and better streams of intelligence than at any time in the past."

In July, 2009 Napolitano ordered a 60-day review of the system used to inform the public of the terror threat environment to see if it needed to be altered. The task force appointed by Napolitano said, "Task Force membership believes the color code system has suffered from a lack of credibility and clarity leading to an erosion of public confidence such that it should be abandoned."