One of the primary reasons behind the transition to the new advisory system, Napolitano said, is the realization that government does not have a monopoly on security.
"[O]ver the last two years, our approach has acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security – indeed, the whole Federal government and the military – cannot, itself, deliver security," she said. "Real security requires the engagement of our entire society, with government, law enforcement, the private sector, and the public all playing their respective roles."
Over the past two years, civilians have played an important role in preventing terrorist attacks. During the failed Christmas Day attack of 2009, it was a Dutch passenger who tackled and restrained underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Then in May 2010, it was an alert street vendor who notified police of Faisal Shahzad's smoking SUV just off Times Square in New York City.
Napolitano calls this security philosophy a "whole of nation" approach. "That is why I like to say that 'homeland security starts with hometown security,'" she said.
In an effort to keep the public informed, DHS has continued its embrace of social media. Concerned citizens can follow the National Terrorism Advisory System on its own Webpage, Facebook, and Twitter.
♦ Photo by ProComKelly/Flickr