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Homeland Security Advisory System: Preliminary Observations Regarding Threat Level Increases from Yellow to Orange

GAO-04-453R Published: Feb 26, 2004. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2004.
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Established in March 2002, the Homeland Security Advisory System was designed to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to federal, state, and local government agencies and the public. However, this system generated concern among federal, state, and local government agencies regarding whether they are receiving the necessary information to respond appropriately to heightened alerts and about the amount of additional costs protective measures entail. Congress requested that we review (1) the operations of the Homeland Security Advisory System, including the decision making process for changing the national threat level, notifications to federal, state, and local government agencies of changes in the threat level, and ongoing revisions to the system; (2) guidance and information that federal, state, and local government agencies reportedly used to determine any protective measures to implement when the threat level is raised to high--or code-orange--alert; (3) any protective measures these agencies implemented during code-orange alert periods; (4) any additional costs these agencies reported incurring to implement such measures; and (5) any threat advisory systems that federal, state, or local government agencies had in place before the creation of the Homeland Security Advisory System.

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AntiterrorismCombating terrorismCost analysisCounterterrorismDecision makingEmergency preparednessGovernment information disseminationHomeland securityIntergovernmental relationsIntrusion detection systemsNatural disastersTerrorismThreat level