Homeland Security Advisory System: Possible Issues for Congressional Oversight [August 6, 2003] [open pdf - 97KB]
"The Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS), established on Mar. 12, 2002, is a color coded terrorist threat warning system administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system, which federal departments and agencies are required to implement and use, provides recommended protective measures for federal departments and agencies to prevent, prepare for, mitigate against, and respond to, terrorist attacks. DHS disseminates HSAS terrorist threat warnings to federal departments, state and local agencies, the public, and private sector entities. This dissemination of warnings is conducted through multiple communication systems and public announcements. HSAS has five threat levels: low; guarded; elevated; high; or severe. From March, 2002, to July, 2003, the HSAS threat level has been no lower than elevated, and has been raised to high four times. The first time it was raised to high was on September 10, 2002 due to the fear of terrorist attacks on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the most recent time it was raised to high was May 20, 2003 due to terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. While the need for terrorist threat warnings seems to be widely acknowledged, there are numerous issues associated with HSAS and its effects on states, localities, the public, and the private sector."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32023
Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base: http://www.au.af.mil/