Alert levels in the US based on what?

March 3rd, 2005  
Italian Guy

Topic: Alert levels in the US based on what?

We often hear the terms Alfa Bravo Charlie Delta alert levels when it comes to talking about US Homeland Security. My question is:
What are these levels based on?

Who decides what level to set? The President?
Is that mostly the intelligence that plays a role?

Because some jerks get around saying oh they just set the level at , say, red, because they want the people to always be scared so that they can... you know, and they go conspirative. anyways I wanted to ask more about what is behind the decision.

March 3rd, 2005  
A Can of Man
Yeah I was wondering too.
I won't release any information on how or why etc. because I might give away information taht is better off not spread around.
Who knows, THIS TOPIC could fall under that category.
March 3rd, 2005  

Topic: DEFCON Alerts

Tactical Alerts
The new Homeland Security Advisory System characterizes appropriate levels of vigilance, preparedness and readiness in a series of graduated Threat Conditions.

U.S. Central Command officials use scales of threat levels and defense readiness conditions to standarize the identification of threats and recommended responses throughout the military. While the THREATCON scale determines the condition for defense of the United States homeland and assets abroad, the DEFCON scale determines the posture of the military to prepare for the likelihood of war.

The THREATCON scale is intended to achieve interservice coordination and support for defense activities within the United States, on US bases abroad, and aboard US vessels. The military's four threat levels, Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta, each bear a set of increasingly restrictive security precautions. When no threat level is indicated, the threat level is considered Normal. Threat-level considerations include the movement of people, visitor identification, vehicle checks, and the offset of allowed parking next to facilities and buildings. Following the terrorist attack of September 11th, while NASA prepares for the launch of space shuttle Endeavour, the Kennedy Space Center states that their current level of alert is Threatcon Charlie.

The DEFCON scale describes progressive alert postures primarily for use between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders of unified commands. DEFCONs are graduated to match situations of varying military severity, and are phased increases in combat readiness. In the event of a national emergency, a series of seven different alert Conditions (LERTCONs) can be called. The 7 LERTCONs are broken down into 5 Defense Conditions (DEFCONs) and 2 Emergency Conditions (EMERGCONs), shown below.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US Strategic Air Command was placed on DEFCON 2 for the first time in history, while the rest of US military commands (with the exception of the US Air Forces in Europe) went on DEFCON 3. On 22 October 1962 SAC responded by establishing Defense Condition Three (DEFCON III), and ordered B-52s on airborne alert. Tension grew and the next day SAC declared DEFCON II, a heightened state of alert, ready to strike targets within the Soviet Union. On 15 November 1965 the day Strategic Air Command (SAC) postured down to defense condition (DEFCON) III. On 6 October 1973 Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise attack on Israel. On 25 October U.S. forces went on Defense Condition (DEFCON) III alert status, as possible intervention by the Soviet Union was feared. On 26 October, CINCSAC and CINCONAD reverted to normal DEFCON status. On 31 October USEUCOM (less the Sixth Fleet) went off DEFCON III status. The Sixth Fleet resumed its normal DEFCON status on 17 November 1973.

THREATCON NORMAL: This condition of normal readiness exists when there is no known threat requiring a heightened state of alert.

THREATCON ALPHA: This condition applies when there is a general threat of possible terrorist activity against personnel and facilities, the nature and extent of which are unpredictable, and circumstances do not justify full implementation of THREATCON BRAVO measures. However, it may be necessary to implement certain measures from higher THREATCONS resulting from intelligence received or as a deterrent. The measures in this THREATCON must be capable of being maintained indefinitely.

THREATCON BRAVO: This condition applies when an increased and more predictable threat of terrorist activity exists. The measures in this THREATCON must be capable of being maintained for weeks without causing undue hardship, affecting operational capability, and aggravating relations with local authorities.

THREATCON CHARLIE: This condition applies when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating some form of terrorist action against personnel and facilities is imminent. Implementation of measures in this THREATCON for more than a short period probably will create hardship and affect the peacetime activities of the unit and its personnel.

THREATCON DELTA: This condition applies in the immediate area where a terrorist attack has occurred or when intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is likely. Normally, this THREATCON is declared as a localized condition.
March 4th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Now that's what I call an answer. Right on spot. Thank you DTop.
March 4th, 2005  
Whispering Death
Actually, it started as a way to just let the public know what was going on, the whole terror alert thing is primarily for law enforcement. Dept. of Homeland Security knew they where going to need different law enforcement settings for different threat periods, for example you have stepped-up airport security at orange than at green. So they decided to create the terror alert colors to help the public understand what was up to prevent the situation in which CNN breaks the story that airport security it tightening up and people react "Oh my god are we under attack!?! Is there an imminent threat!?!?! Let's not go on planes because the gov't knows something they just won't tell us!"

The whole point is that the public isn't supposed to do anything differently at the alert levels really, which is why everyone is so confused because the CNNs of the world report changes in the terror alert colors as life-altering events.