Shirley Henry | KUOW News and Information

Shirley Henry

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he will soon announce a new national alert system aimed at better informing the public given the "new phase" of the global terrorist threat the U.S. is facing.

The department used to have a color-coded terror alert system that was put into place after Sept. 11, but that was replaced by the National Threat Advisory System (NTAS) in 2011.

Johnson said NTAS has never been used because it sets too high a bar, namely that it depends on there being a specific, credible threat to the homeland.

The Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa.

The White House announced several steps, including attempting better tracking of past travel, fines for airlines that don't verify passport data, assisting other countries on the screening of refugees and with border security.