UPDATE TO THE NATIONAL
Background: The National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)
In 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) replaced the color-coded
alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) with the National
Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), designed to more effectively communicate
information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to
the American public.
When it was launched, NTAS featured an advisory system that consisted of two
types of "Alerts": Elevated and Imminent. An "Elevated Alert" is intended to
warn of a credible terrorist threat against the United States and its
territories that is general in both timing and potential location such that it
is reasonable to recommend implementation of protective measures to thwart or
mitigate against an attack. An "Imminent Alert" is intended to warn of a
credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat or on-going attack. DHS has
continuously evaluated intelligence threat streams through the NTAS process
since the system’s creation, but it has never issued an Alert because neither
the circumstances nor threat streams have risen to the required level or purpose
of the system.
In order to determine how DHS can more effectively and quickly communicate
information to the public and other partners regarding threats to the homeland
in the evolving threat environment, and following discussions with homeland
security stakeholders, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed a
review of the NTAS to consider possible revisions. Based on this review, DHS is
updating the NTAS to add a new form of advisory - the NTAS "Bulletin" - to the
existing NTAS "Alerts."
NEW: NTAS "Bulletins"
DHS will achieve the objective of more flexible, timely, and useful
communication with the public regarding terrorist threats through the
introduction of an additional component of NTAS to accompany the existing NTAS
Alerts: the NTAS "Bulletin." NTAS Bulletins will provide information describing
broader or more general trends and current developments regarding threats of
terrorism. They will share important terrorism-related information with the
American public and various partners and stakeholders, including in those
situations where additional precautions may be warranted, but where the
circumstances do not warrant the issuance of an "elevated" or "imminent" Alert.
An NTAS Bulletin will summarize the issue and why it is important for public
awareness, outline U.S. Government counterterrorism efforts, and offer
recommendations to the public on how it can contribute to the overall
With the introduction of the Bulletin, NTAS will now consist of two types of
advisories: Bulletins and Alerts. As under the existing system, if there is
sufficient information regarding a credible, specific terrorist threat against
the United States, such that it is reasonable to recommend implementation of
protective measures to thwart or mitigate against an attack, DHS will share an
NTAS Alert - either Elevated or Imminent - with the American public. The Alert
may include specific information, if available, about the nature of the threat,
including the geographic region, mode of transportation, or critical
infrastructure potentially affected by the threat, as well as steps that
individuals and communities can take to protect themselves and help prevent,
mitigate, or respond to the threat.
The update to the NTAS announced today will allow us to better achieve the goal
of making sure Americans across the country have the information they need to
keep themselves and their communities safer. This action is not in response to a
specific, credible threat to the homeland, but is a prudent measure to ensure
that Americans are better prepared and aware of the evolving terrorist threats.
of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson explains the updated National Terror
The Department of Homeland Security will more frequently provide official
updates on terror threats against the U.S. through a retooling of its National
Terrorism Advisory System - issuing its first such advisory Wednesday. DHS
Secretary Jeh Johnson said the update to the agency’s advisory system includes
the addition of an intermediate threat level bulletin encompassing "general
trends regarding threats of terrorism."
"People are anxious now," Mr. Johnson said during a Wednesday briefing on the
new alert system. "They should know and need to know what their government is
doing to protect our homeland."
The new bulletin alerts, which consist of a 1-page notice published on the DHS
website, will allow federal officials to keep the public apprised of general
threats as they become known. The bulletin issued Wednesday will stay active
through June, but Mr. Johnson said additional bulletins could be issued as
"My goal is to be able to issue these promptly," said Mr. Johnson, adding that
DHS should be able to release future bulletins on a day’s notice.
For more information, visit
National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin here for a summary on
threat issues and why it is important for public awareness, outline U.S.
Government counterterrorism efforts, and offer recommendations to the public on
how it can contribute to the overall counterterrorism effort.
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