The Homeland Security Advisory System was a color-coded threat level advisory scale. The different color-coded levels triggered specific actions by federal agencies and local governments, and additionally affected security levels at airports and other suck public facilities. The system was created in March 2012 in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. As explained in Homeland Security Presidential Directive 3, the system’s purpose was to provide “comprehensive and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to federal, state, and local authorities and to the American people.”
The five color-coded threat levels were:
▪ Severe (red): severe risk
▪ High (orange): high risk
▪ Elevated (yellow): significant risk
▪ Guarded (blue): general risk
▪ Low (green): low risk
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced on January 27, 2011 that the Homeland Security Advisory System would be phased out. The system was officially phased out on April 27, 2011, and has since been replaced with a new system called the National Terrorism Advisory System.
The National Terrorism Advisory System is a two-level terrorism threat advisory scale. Whereas the Homeland Security Advisory System faced much criticism for providing the public with, in Napolitano’s words, “little practical information”, the new system provides the public with alerts “specific to the threat” and will include “a specified end date.”
With the National Terrorism Advisory System, the Department of Homeland Security is better suited to ensure that the public has practical and timely information to help address any terrorist threats or activities.