Description: Deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable, and actionable terrorism-related information to the whole community through the use of clear, consistent, accessible, and culturally and linguistically appropriate methods to effectively relay information regarding any threat and the actions being taken and the assistance being made available, as appropriate.
Public Information and Warning is a core capability that applies across all preparedness mission areas. In the context of Prevention, this is the capability to both provide the public with advance notice of a potential terrorist attack against the homeland and update information as an ongoing threat unfolds. The process of communicating terrorism-related information to the public must be timely and well-coordinated through standardized procedures. These procedures will inform stakeholders of pending threats, as appropriate, and provide instruction on the precautions necessary to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Since certain communities respond better to different types of media outreach, the method of communication with the public should be tailored to best meet the specific needs of the audience.11
The collection, protection, evaluation, and dissemination of critical threat information to the American public; local, state, tribal, and territorial governments; and the nonprofit and private sectors are central to this task. This information on credible terrorist threats is provided to the public, primarily through National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) advisories.12 The NTAS
11 For example, information and warnings must be effectively communicated to individuals with disabilities by using appropriate auxiliary aids and services, such as through the use of accessible Web sites and technologies, qualified interpreters, and the captioning of audio and video materials for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, have low vision, or have speech disabilities. Similarly, information and warnings should be communicated to individuals with limited English proficiency through interpretation and translated documents.
12 Under NTAS, DHS will coordinate with other Federal entities, to include the FBI, in order to issue advisories. Advisories issued through the NTAS require the approval of the Secretary of DHS. The intended audience for each NTAS advisory will vary depending on the nature of the threat. Although NTAS advisories are intended to reach a
disseminates information to local, state, tribal, territorial, and federal authorities, critical infrastructure owners and operators, and the public on the risk and degree of likelihood of terrorist acts. The NTAS consists of two types of advisories, NTAS Bulletins and NTAS Alerts, depending on the specificity and credibility of the threat information.13 An NTAS Bulletin will generally address broader or more general trends and developments regarding threats of terrorism. In contrast, NTAS Alerts will provide a more concise summary to warn of a specific credible threat. The advisories provide the Secretary with a scalable and agile means of disseminating information regarding threats or risks of terrorism to the homeland to federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government authorities and to the people of the United States, as appropriate. Whether an NTAS Bulletin or NTAS Alert, the advisory will provide recommended actions to prevent or mitigate the risks associated with terrorism.
Should an NTAS Alert be issued, fusion centers may be leveraged to disseminate the Alert to fusion center partners and generate value-added analysis, information, and intelligence within a local context.
Increase public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime; for example, through the “If You See Something, Say Something”™ public awareness program.
Refine and consider options to release pre-event information publicly, and take action accordingly.
Protect information so as not to compromise ongoing prevention operations (e.g., intelligence activities and investigations).
Share prompt and actionable messages, to include NTAS Alerts, with the public and other stakeholders, as appropriate, to aid in the prevention of imminent follow-on terrorist attacks.
Use all appropriate communication means, such as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)14 and social media.
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