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Napolitano announces new terror alert system at the Jack Morton Auditorium

Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, delivers the 'State of Homeland Security' at the Jack Morton Auditorium Thursday afternoon. Gabriella Demczuk| Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Reid Davenport

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano formally announced that the color-coded national security alert system currently utilized by the country will be replaced with a new, two-tiered alert system, during a speech Thursday afternoon at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

Napolitano told the packed auditorium during the first ever “State of Homeland Security Address,” that the new system will alert those potentially affected by a threat, and label that threat as elevated or immanent.

Napolitano also said during her address that a joint effort among the government and public is essential to protect American soil.

“The kinds of threats we now face demonstrate that our homeland security must is a shared responsibility and that only a whole nation approach will bring us to the level of security and resiliency we require,” Napolitano said.

She emphasized the “If You See Something, Say Something” and “Suspicious Activity Reporting” campaigns as well, saying they are essential to preventing terrorist attacks.

“The threats we face today are real, they are persistent and they are evolving rapidly,” she said.

Napolitano also spoke about the state of the country’s security, saying that the U.S. is more secure today than it was both two years ago and 10 years ago, before 9/11.

She referenced threats from Al Qaeda, Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as homegrown terrorism like the attempted Time Square dirty bombing.

“The arrests of an increasing number of U.S. persons on terror related charges in the last two years means that we must work beyond that [foreign] paradigm,” she said.

Napolitano said that two dozen U.S. citizens have been arrested on terror related charges within the past two years.

“The hard work of securing the U.S. homeland stretches from the mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan and other far off places, all the way back to the main streets of our smallest hometowns,” she said.

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