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NCJ Number: 202030 Find in a Library
Title: Orange Crush: The Confusion and Cost of Complying with National Terror Alerts are Driving Cities to Question the Whole System
Journal: Governing  Volume:16  Issue:11  Dated:August 2003  Pages:18-23
Author(s): Anya Sostek
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 6
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the efficacy of the national Homeland Security Alert System.
Abstract: Devised in March 2002, the Homeland Security Alert System is based on five levels of terror risk, coded by color (green, blue, yellow, orange, and red). The article discusses the usefulness of this national terror alert system, pointing out that every time the terror alert is elevated, it costs local governments approximately $70 million per week in terror preparedness. This financial burden has put great strain on local and State governments since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Another problem lies in the fact that it is a national system, but the risk to States and cities most assuredly varies. Some critics propose that the level of terror threat should be more locally-based because terror threats directed at some cities are not on the same level as threats aimed at places such as Washington, DC. Reacting to public criticism and scrutiny, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has stated that in the future his agency will try to be more specific about the level of threat to particular areas of the country. The article goes on to point out that, technically, States and local governments do not have to act based on the national terror alert system, and moreover, the Federal Government has provided no standards for actions local governments should take at each alert level. As such, each locality must determine for itself how it will handle the notion of risk and what measures will be taken each time the national terror alert is raised. In the end, however, many localities are worried about underestimating a terror risk and becoming the next causality of what promises to be a long battle with terrorism.
Main Term(s): Counter-terrorism intelligence
Index Term(s): International terrorism; Local government; Socioeconomic impact of terrorism; State government
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