DHS warns of a heightened terror threat in the US as we approach the ten year anniversary of 9/11.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano appeared at the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee to discuss terrorism in the United States.  She said that the threat of terrorism against the US homeland is in some aspects “at its most heightened state” since the 9/11 attacks.”  She went onto say that “The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly and the US faces threats by groups already inside the country.”

Ms Napolitano warned that attacks could be carried out with little warning.  Al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked individuals have attempted a number of recent attacks against the US, including a Nigerian who tried to blow up an aircraft with explosives hidden in his underwear, and a man who plotted to attack the New York subway.

There is an increased reliance by foreign militant groups on recruiting individuals from the US, she added.   The country’s counterterrorism response currently includes local “fusion centers” aimed at facilitating intelligence-sharing, a nationwide reporting initiative for suspicious acts and the “If you see something, say something” campaign created to “foster public vigilance”, Ms Napolitano said. DHS is also replacing the color-coded terror alert system with a time sensitive and hopefully more useful one (see blog dated February 3, 2011)

This is a good reminder to dust off your plans, look at your security and possibly conduct a tabletop exercise with your Incident Management Team with a terrorist theme.