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Homeland Security nears decision on terror warning system

By Jim Barnett, CNN Senior Producer
  • New system will replace color-coded terror alerts
  • The new alerts are expected to distinguish between "elevated" and "imminent" threats
  • "The alerts will be specific to the threat," Napolitano has said

(CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security is nearing a decision on its plan to replace the color-coded terror warning alert introduced after the attacks on 9/11 with a two tier detailed advisory system.

"The plan is not yet final, as we will continue to meet and exercise with our partners to finalize a plan that meets everyone's needs. We remain on track to implement the new system later this month," said Amy Kudwa, DHS spokeswoman.

The new alerts are expected to distinguish between "elevated" and "imminent" threats and could be limited to warnings for specific industries or police or communicated more broadly to the public.

"The alerts will be specific to the threat. They may recommend certain actions or suggest looking for specific suspicious behavior. And they will have a specified end date," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a speech at George Washington University in January.

Napolitano said warnings under the current system were "too often accompanied by little practical information." The new system, she said, is built on the idea "that we are all in this together, and that we all have a role to play."

Kudwa said, "Since Secretary Napolitano's announcement in January that the Department will be ending the color-coded alerts, we have been working closely with our partners across government at all levels and with the private sector to develop the plan to do so."

CNN's Mike Ahlers contributed to this report