RUSI JournalVolume 158Issue 4members only

The End of the Rainbow? Terrorism and the Future of Public Warning


Colour-coded warning levels were once emblematic of US national security. Although superficially similar, the UK has taken a different approach

After 9/11, the US introduced a public warning system for terrorism, the Homeland Security Advisory System: the first of its kind in the country. Within months, however, the system was attracting widespread criticism, with questions regarding its ability to adequately communicate risk, its use of colour-coded threat levels, and even its potential to be manipulated for political advantage by the Bush administration. Despite this, the UK introduced a similar system in 2006.

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