Today I noticed a reference to the US Department of Homeland Security's Advisory System in an article I was reading, and decided to see what I could find out about it. Basically I couldn't find out much, but I noticed a helpful link to contact the Department of Homeland Security, so I submitted the following message:
To Whom it may concern:
This message is to question the role of the Threat Advisory Level and the legitimacy of the Low and Guarded levels. In my short experience with the system I have the following comments:
- I don't know what it means or how to react to changes in the threat level. I did see there is a link to a "Citizen Guidance on the Homeland Security Advisory System" at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interweb/assetlibrary/CitizenGuidanceHSAS.pdf However, the link did not work and resulted in what is known as a 404 or Resource not found error, as an additional problem I was not permitted to view the standard 404 error page "http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/error_404.jsp" as I was given an "Access Denied" or 403 error. I would appreciate it if you could provide a legitamate means of obtaining this document for my review so I can understand what the threat level means to a citizen.
- I have spoken to a few police officers, they don't seem to have any understanding of what the different threat levels mean, either. This is troubling, as this department is now the recipient of funds withheld from my paycheck I would like to know that the most numerous supporting cast for Homeland Security (police officers) have some level of procedures and understanding about what this most public vestige of the department means.
- Are there any plans to utilize the Low or Guarded levels for the threat advisory meter? Throughout the time since the inception of this meter it seems that the level has been "elevated" or "high." Are the lower levels destined to go the way of the "small" soda at McDonalds or is there actually a purpose for them? There are numerous childrens stories which are embedded in the US culture that extol the benefits of not being overly enthusiastic in making claims of emergencies that don't seem to be actively materializing. (See "Chicken Little" ISBN: 0694010340, or "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" ASIN: 0553372327).
While this message may seem overly critical, or seem like a big joke, I assure you that it is not. I am a concerned citizen and I am doing my civic duty by requesting more information and pointing out what appear to be problems in the perception of the current policies and information sharing of this newly formed, very large, and expensive branch of the US federal government.
Thank you for your time.
Citizen United States of America
In the unlikely event that I receive any kind of feedback I will post it here.
Found some working links to the Red Cross documentation on the Advisory System.