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12 March 2002

White House Fact Sheet on the Homeland Security Advisory System

(To disseminate information on risk of terrorist attacks) (970)
The White House issued the following Fact Sheet on the Homeland
Security Advisory System March 12:
(begin White House Fact Sheet)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 12, 2002
Homeland Security Advisory System
The Homeland Security Advisory System will provide a comprehensive and
effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of
terrorist attacks to Federal, State, and local authorities and to the
American people.
As part of a series of initiatives to improve coordination and
communication among all levels of government and the American public
in the fight against terrorism, President Bush signed Homeland
Security Presidential Directive 3, creating the Homeland Security
Advisory System (HSAS). The advisory system will be the foundation for
building a comprehensive and effective communications structure for
the dissemination of information regarding the risk of terrorist
attacks to all levels of government and the American people.
The Attorney General will be responsible for developing, implementing
and managing the system. In conjunction with the development of this
new system, the Attorney General will open a 45-day comment period in
order to seek the views of officials at all levels of government, law
enforcement and the American public. Ninety days after the conclusion
of the comment period, the Attorney General -- in coordination with
the Director of the Office of Homeland Security -- will present a
final Homeland Security Advisory System to the President for approval.
The Homeland Security Advisory System will provide the following:
National framework for Federal, State, and local governments, private
industry and the public. There are many federal alert systems in our
country -- each tailored and unique to different sectors of our
society: transportation, defense, agriculture, and weather, for
example. These alert systems fill vital and specific requirements for
a variety of situations in both the commercial and government sectors.
The Homeland Security Advisory System will provide a national
framework for these systems, allowing government officials and
citizens to communicate the nature and degree of terrorist threats.
This advisory system characterizes appropriate levels of vigilance,
preparedness and readiness in a series of graduated Threat Conditions.
The Protective Measures that correspond to each Threat Condition will
help the government and citizens decide what action they take to help
counter and respond to terrorist activity. Based on the threat level,
Federal agencies will implement appropriate Protective Measures.
States and localities will be encouraged to adopt compatible systems.
Factors for assignment of Threat Conditions. The Homeland Security
Advisory System will provide a framework for the Attorney General, in
consultation with the Director of the Office of Homeland Security, to
assign Threat Conditions, which can apply nationally, regionally, by
sector or to a potential target. Cabinet Secretaries and other members
of the Homeland Security Council will be consulted as appropriate. A
variety of factors may be used to assess the threat. Among these:
-- Is the threat credible?
-- Is the threat corroborated?
-- Is the threat specific and/or imminent?
-- How grave is the threat?
Unified system for public announcements. Public announcements of
threat advisories and alerts help deter terrorist activity, notify law
enforcement and State and local government officials of threats,
inform the public about government preparations, and provide them with
the information necessary to respond to the threat. State and local
officials will be informed in advance of national threat advisories
when possible. The Attorney General will develop a system for
conveying relevant information to Federal, State, and local officials,
and the private sector expeditiously. Heightened Threat Conditions can
be declared for the entire nation, or for a specific geographic area,
functional or industrial sector. Changes in assigned Threat Conditions
will be made when necessary.
A tool to combat terrorism. Threat Conditions characterize the risk of
terrorist attack. Protective Measures are the steps that will be taken
by government and the private sector to reduce vulnerabilities. The
HSAS establishes five Threat Conditions with associated suggested
Protective Measures:
Low Condition - Green
Low risk of terrorist attacks. The following Protective Measures may
be applied:
-- Refining and exercising preplanned Protective Measures;
-- Ensuring personnel receive training on HSAS, departmental, or
agency -- specific Protective Measures; and
-- Regularly assessing facilities for vulnerabilities and taking
measures to reduce them.
Guarded Condition - Blue
General risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously
outlined Protective Measures, the following may be applied:
-- Checking communications with designated emergency response or
command locations;
-- Reviewing and updating emergency response procedures; and
-- Providing the public with necessary information.
Elevated Condition - Yellow
Significant risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously
outlined Protective Measures, the following may be applied:
-- Increasing surveillance of critical locations;
-- Coordinating emergency plans with nearby jurisdictions;
-- Assessing further refinement of Protective Measures within the
context of the current threat information; and
-- Implementing, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response
plans.
High Condition - Orange
High risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously outlined
Protective Measures, the following may be applied:
-- Coordinating necessary security efforts with armed forces or law
enforcement agencies;
-- Taking additional precaution at public events;
-- Preparing to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed
workforce; and  Restricting access to essential personnel only.
Severe Condition - Red
Severe risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the previously
outlined Protective Measures, the following may be applied:
-- Assigning emergency response personnel and pre-positioning
specially trained teams;
-- Monitoring, redirecting or constraining transportation systems;
-- Closing public and government facilities; and
-- Increasing or redirecting personnel to address critical emergency
needs.
(end White House Fact Sheet)
      



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