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Homeland Security: Complex Past, Uncertain Future by Rob Margetta

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Measuring Success at DHS

There’s probably no greater symbol of the problems that plagued DHS’ early years — the rush into ill-considered policies and actions, the grants and other resources wasted, the difficulties in public outreach— than the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System.

With no criteria defining what the levels meant or how the public should react to any given threat level, the system was subject to widespread criticism, in no small part because in its eight years of existence it never dropped below the yellow “elevated” level. Former Secretary Tom Ridge alleged in his book “The Test of Our Times” that top Bush administration officials pressured him to raise the threat level in the lead-up to the 2004 presidential election ...

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