The United States is considering abandoning the 8-year-old color coded terror alert system amid criticism from U.S. lawmakers and public protests, according to media reports.
A proposal submitted to the White House by the Dept. of Homeland Security is recommending a dismantling of the five-color scheme and move towards a more-modified threat warnings, the reports added.
The goal is to replace a system that communicates nothing with a system that communicates precise, actionable information based on the latest intelligence, a senior Homeland Security official told The Washington Post and The New York Times.
The new system could come in the form of a DHS-FBI bulletin to local law enforcement, a briefing to cargo carriers or a statement from public officials to residents of a particular metropolitan area, a Homeland Security official told the Post.
The five-color system, which was introduced by the Bush administration in March 2002, after the Sept.11 2001 terrorist attacks uses colors like green, blue, yellow, orange and red to convey the nation's terror-alert status.
For instance, green indicates a low threat level, while red symbolizes a severe risk of attack. Meanwhile, Blue, Yellow and Orange stand for 'guarded risk,' 'elevated risk' and 'high risk', respectively.
The ongoing color coded alert system was often ridiculed for alarming people rather than guiding how to respond. The system is also facing stiff airline passenger protests during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday over new full-body imaging and pat-downs at airport security checkpoints.
Generally, the nation's threat levels have been hovering around the 'yellow' and 'orange' range and have been adjusted 16 times since its introduction. It has attained 'red' only on Aug. 10, 2006, amid a disrupted Al-Qaeda plot targeting transatlantic flights. The color was last changed in 2006.
As of Nov. 24, the United States government's national threat level is 'elevated', or 'yellow'.
For all domestic and international flights, the U.S. threat level is 'high', or 'orange' according to Dept. of Homeland Security.