Homeland Security secretary unveils new terror alert system

Posted at 11:12 AM, Dec 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-07 11:20:52-05

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday his department will unveil a new national alert system in the coming days to reflect the “new phase” of the terror threat.

Johnson said his department will move to a new system that will include an intermediate terror threat. Johnson said the new alert system will reflect the current security environment when “not having a specific credible piece of intelligence specifying a plot isn’t the end of the story.”

A much-maligned color-coded terror alert system was put in place following the September 11, 2001, attacks and phased out in 2011 under Johnson’s predecessor. It was replaced by the two-tier National Terror Advisory System that has such a high bar it has never been used.

Johnson was speaking at a forum sponsored by the website Defense One.

After Johnson’s remarks, a DHS official said that the changes did not reflect a new system entirely, and instead changes to the existing NTAS.

“Earlier this year, Secretary Johnson directed a review of the NTAS to determine how the Department of Homeland Security can more effectively and quickly communicate information to the public and other partners regarding threats to the homeland,” the official said. “This is not a new system.”