Homeland Security

Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3 Purpose

The Nation requires a Homeland Security Advisory System to provide a comprehensive and effective means to disseminate information regarding the risk of terrorist acts to Federal, State, and local authorities and to the American people.

Such a system would provide warnings in the form of a set of graduated "Threat Conditions" that would increase as the risk of the threat increases. At each Threat Condition, Federal departments and agencies would implement a corresponding set of Protective Measures to further reduce vulnerability or increase response capability during a period of heightened alert. This system is intended to create a common vocabulary, context, and structure for an ongoing national discussion about the nature of the threats that confront the homeland as well as the appropriate measures that should be taken in response. It seeks to inform and facilitate decisions appropriate to different levels of government and to private citizens at home and at work.

Homeland Security Advisory System

The Homeland Security Advisory System shall be binding on the executive branch and suggested, although voluntary, to other levels of government and the private sector. There are 5 Threat Conditions, each identified by a description and corresponding color. From lowest to highest, the levels and colors are:

  • Low: Green
  • Guarded: Blue
  • Elevated: Yellow
  • High: Orange
  • Severe: Red

Assigned Risk

The higher the Threat Condition, the greater the risk of a terrorist attack. Risk includes both the probability of an attack occurring and its potential gravity. Threat Conditions shall be assigned by the Attorney General in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.

Attorney General

Except in exigent circumstances, the Attorney General shall seek the views of the appropriate Homeland Security Principals or their subordinates, and other parties as appropriate, on the Threat Condition to be assigned. Threat Conditions may be assigned for the entire Nation, or they may be set for a particular geographic area or industrial sector. Assigned Threat Conditions shall be reviewed at regular intervals to determine whether adjustments are warranted.

Comment & Review Periods

The Attorney General, in consultation and coordination with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, shall, for 45 days from the date of the directive, seek the views of government officials at all levels and of public interest groups and the private sector on the proposed Homeland Security Advisory System.

After 135 days from the date of the directive the Attorney General, after consultation and coordination with the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, and having considered the views received during the comment period, shall recommend to the President in writing proposed refinements to the Homeland Security Advisory System.