Changes to DHS Terrorism Advisory System
On December 16th, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that significant changes will be made to the existing national alert system. Implemented in 2011, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) currently offers only two threat levels. An ‘elevated’ alert warns of a heightened risk of terrorism, whereas an ‘imminent’ alert notifies the nation of a “credible, specific, and impending threat” to the homeland. Because neither threat has been issued since its implementation, government officials have argued that this system is not flexible enough to prepare the nation for the possibility of unconfirmed or unknown threats by homegrown or "lone wolf" terrorists.
According to Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the current system will be revised to include a third level, which comes in the form of an informative bulletin. Released every few months, this bulletin will describe “current developments and trends regarding persistent and ongoing threats to the U.S. or the American people.” In light of recent events such as the massacre in Paris or the attacks in San Bernardino, the nation has been at a heightened level of awareness. However, while the Department of Homeland Security warns Americans to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, particularly during this holiday season, it also urges Americans to continue traveling, attending public events, and living their normal day-to-day lives.