HEATHER M. HOUSER n March 12, 2002, the newly created United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inaugurated its Homeland Security Advisory System. The system was designed to disseminate emergency information smoothly from the DHS to residents and governmental agencies by translating the national threat into one of five colors. Each easy-to-decode color--from red (severe) to green (low)--communicates a threat status that impels government entities as well as the public to modify their preparedness for an emergency. The implementation of this alert system made clear that the nation at large was now, if not at greater risk, more aware of the risks it faced. While federal emergency communication initiatives had been in place for over fifty years, the Homeland Security Advisory System was the first to communicate a perceived threat rather than an actually occurring military offensive or other catastrophic event.1 It hardly requires mention that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, catalyzed the second Bush administration to create both the DHS and its advisory system. This agency and program were symptoms of the sense that the strikes heralded a new era in America and the West generally. With this sense of a new era came the
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Jun 26, 2010
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