- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2015

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday that he plans to roll out a new terror threat warning system in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The new system will be announced “in the coming days” and would replace the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS).

“We need to do a better job of informing the public at large what we are seeing, removing some of the mystery about the global terrorist threat, and what we are doing about it and what we are asking the public to do,” Mr. Johnson said during a discussion at the Defense One Leadership Briefing in Washington.

The current system, which replaced the previous color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System, has never been used because it requires a high bar to be deployed, Mr. Johnson noted.

“It depends upon a specific, credible threat to the homeland,” the homeland security head said.

The new system would include an intermediate threat-level that could potentially put the country on heightened alert at times that there is no specific threat but there might be concern about the potential for copycat attacks.

As an example, he noted the heightened security posture taken at U.S. federal government buildings a year ago after a man opened fire on the Canadian parliament building in Ottawa.

“We need to do more of that kind of thing,” he said.

At the briefing Monday, Mr. Johnson also discussed the need to step up measures to counter violent extremism inside the United States and to increase security screening procedures at airports overseas.

“We’re encouraging European countries to do more about their own internal security when it comes to travel,”  he said listing off measures such as the addition of more U.S. air marshals on international flights and expansion of U.S. security technology that can more easily recognize travelers.

The secretary said DHS is working to deploy more customs officials to do stepped up security screenings at international airports and plans to bring preclearance screening abilities at 10 airports abroad.

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