The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new and more efficient means to communicate terrorist threats to the American public in January 2011. The new system replaced the national threat levels which were categorized by color codes. The new system is captured by two categories:
- Current Alerts
- Expired Alerts
These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an "imminent threat" or "elevated threat." The alerts will also provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities, businesses and governments can take.
NTAS alerts will be based on the nature of the threat: in some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels—including a designated DHS webpage (www.dhs.gov/national-terrorism-advisory-system), as well as social media channels including Facebook and via Twitter @NTASAlerts. Additionally, NTAS has a “sunset provision,” meaning that individual threat alerts will be issued with a specified end date. Alerts may be extended if new information becomes available or if the threat evolves significantly.