The recommendations were reviewed and approved by chief executives, and ultimately accepted by Governor Bush on October 1. The first priority recommendation was to create and establish seven Regional Domestic Security Task Forces.
These Task Forces would play a key role in implementing a number of additional recommendations resulting from the assessment and ultimately represent Florida’s best opportunity for preventing a terrorist attack.
Each Task Force has a standard organizational template organized under the Incident Command System Model and be co-chaired by a FDLE Regional Director and local Sheriff.
On October 9, 2001, FDLE Commissioner Moore announced the appointment of the Sheriffs to chair the Regional Domestic Security Task Forces. Police Chiefs, Fire Chiefs, emergency management directors, health and medical officials, federal, state, and local government officials, and private industry executives are on each regional Task Force and play an important part of this effort.
The Task Forces are responsible to a statewide, multi-agency oversight board. This oversight board ensures consistency and communication among all the Task Forces.
In addition, each Task Force consists of four primary areas including Law Enforcement, Fire Rescue, Health and Medical and Emergency Management/Regulatory. Each of these components play a vital role in efforts to prevent a terrorist attack and, if necessary, respond immediately to and
coordinate efforts at a disaster site.
The responsibilities of the Task Forces include:
- Improving Florida's ability to detect and prevent potential terrorist threats
- Collecting and disseminating intelligence and investigative information
- Facilitating and promoting ongoing security audits and vulnerability assessments to protect critical infrastructures
- Coordinating the delivery of training and supporting the purchase of proper equipment for public safety first responders and disaster response teams
- Improving Florida's response and recovery capabilities
- Promoting better public awareness of how suspicious incidents may be reported, and how to respond should an emergency related to a terrorist threat develop.
The Homeland Security Advisory System was designed to provide a national framework and comprehensive means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to the following:
- Federal, state, and local authorities
- The private sector
- The American people
This system provides warnings in the form of a set of graduated “threat conditions” that increase as the risk of the threat increases. Risk includes both the probability of an attack occurring and its potential gravity. Threat conditions may be assigned for the entire nation, or they may be set for a particular geographic area or industrial sector. At each threat condition, government entities and the private sector, including businesses and schools, would implement a corresponding set of “protective measures” to further reduce vulnerability or increase response capability during a period of heightened alert.
There are five threat conditions, each identified by a description and corresponding color. Assigned threat conditions will be reviewed at regular intervals to determine whether adjustments are warranted.
The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS
Secretary Napolitano Announces New National Terrorism Advisory System to More Effectively Communicate Information about Terrorist Threats to the American Public
DHS Discontinues Color-Coded Alert System
Washington, D.C. - Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will discontinue the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) in favor of a new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), that will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
The National Terrorism Advisory System will be implemented over the next 90 days in order for DHS and our federal, state, local, tribal, community and private sector partners to transition to the new system.
“Security is a shared responsibility, and we must work together to keep our nation safe from threats,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This new system is built on a clear and simple premise: when a credible threat develops that could impact the public, we will tell you and provide whatever information we can so that you know how to keep yourselves, your families and your communities safe.”
HSAS was first introduced on March 11, 2002. In July 2009, Secretary Napolitano formed a bipartisan task force of security experts, state and local elected and law enforcement officials, and other key stakeholders—co-chaired by Fran Townsend, former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security, and Judge William Webster, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—to assess the effectiveness of HSAS. The results of this assessment formed the basis of the National Terrorism Advisory System.
Under the new system, DHS will coordinate with other federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts when the federal government receives information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an “imminent threat” or “elevated threat.” The alerts also will 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.
The National Terrorism Advisory System 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/alerts), as well as social media channels including Facebook and via Twitter @NTASAlerts.
Additionally, NTAS will have 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.
Secretary Napolitano announced this change today during her “State of America’s Homeland Security” address at the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute. A copy of her prepared remarks is available here.
For more information on the National Terrorism Advisory System, visit www.dhs.gov/alerts.
If you require more information about any of these topics, the following are resources that may be helpful.
- American Red Cross
- American Red Cross: Homeland Security Advisory System Recommendations for Individuals, Families, Neighborhoods, Schools, and Businesses.
- Explanation of preparedness activities for each population.