The Select Committee on Homeland Security - U.S. House of Representatives
For Immediate Release
Monday, July 12, 2004
New Report on Homeland Security Threat Advisory System Highlights Need
here to view GAO report [1.6 MB]
Washington, DC - Today, Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) and Ranking Member
Jim Turner (D-TX) announced the release of a GAO report, entitled "Homeland
Security Communication Protocols And Risk Communication Principles Can Assist
In Refining The Advisory System." This report, requested on July 17, 2003 by
Chairman Cox and Ranking Member Turner, examines the Homeland Security Advisory
System and the costs borne by federal, state, and local governments due to
changes in the threat level.
"Adjustments in the national threat level are among the most important pieces
of information that American citizens receive from the federal government," said
Chairman Cox. "As experience has demonstrated, these communications are most
effective and efficient when they can be tailored to a specific region or sector.
GAO's findings support this and provide clear recommendations to improve the
system," said Chairman Cox.
"The recommendations of the GAO to improve the Department of Homeland Security's
Threat Advisory System must be made to preserve public confidence and responsiveness
to the warnings," said Ranking Member Turner. A lack of trust in the system
will destroy its value to our public safety," Turner said.
In its report, GAO concludes that warnings should include specific information
about the nature and location of a threat and timely notification to allow
for early and open information sharing. GAO also states that without this specific
threat information, federal agencies, states, and localities may not be able
to determine risk levels and the appropriate corresponding protective measures.
GAO recommendations to address these needs build directly on the Homeland
Security Act's existing requirements - specifically the requirement that the
Department of Homeland Security provide "specific warning information, and
advice about appropriate protective measures and countermeasures, to state
and local government agencies and authorities, the private sector and other
entities" (Sec. 201(d)(7)(B))
"We are encouraged that GAO found that DHS has made progress in ensuring
that more specific threat information flows to federal agencies, as well as
state and local governments. We plan to address further reforms in homeland
security-related information sharing in the Committee this summer," concluded
Chairman Cox and Ranking Member Turner.