History of Civil Defense 1945 -1984

History of Civil Defense 1945 -1984

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The PDF History of Civil Defense 1945 -1984 is actually called “America Civil Defence 1945 -1984 The Evolution of Programs and Policies it was written at Emmitsburg Maryland – which the home of the National Emergency Management Center – basically a college campus for teaching strategic courses in Emergency Management.  I never got there, as I spent my training time on the tactical courses.  If you read through the abstract you see that this document describes how we went from preparing individuals and teaching personal preparedness to being concerned primarily with government survivability.

This monograph examines the modern civil defense system from its inception to the present. The evolution of policies and programs is examined on the basis of five determinants: international crisis and change; quality of civil defense leadership and planning; congressional support and appropriations; presidential interest and support; and defense policy. This review is pre- sented in terms of presidential administrations between 1945 and 1984. The Truman years were characterized by disagreement over what branch and level of government should be responsible for civil defense. The program also suffered from poor leadership during this period. Leadership problems also persisted in the Eisenhower years, coupled with the necessity for frequent policy change arising out of accelerated growth and greater understanding of nuclear weapon technology. A defense policy and corresponding programs of “Massive Retalia- tion” left little funding for civil defense programs.

Although civil defense experienced a shaky start in the Kennedy administration, it soon began to enjoy its greatest growth and support thus far. For example, a nationwide system of fallout shelters was created during this period. The first part of the Johnson administration was marked by defense policy confusion, chiefly centered on the viability of Anti-Ballistic Missiles. As the confusion wore on, the concept of mutually-assured destruction grew, and civil defense appropriations shrank. Despite President Nixon’s expressed interest in civil defense, budget requests reached an all time low during his administration.

The “dual-use” policy, combining attack planning with disaster planning, was officially implemented during this time. Federal money was distributed to state and local agencies. Crisis Relocation (or evacuation) Planning characterized the Ford administra- tion, with conflicts developing over federal funding of dual-use programs. The Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA) became a part of the new Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Carter administration. President Reagan’s civil defense budget request was attacked as “warfighting strategy”, even though the use of civil defense funds for peacetime disasters was expli- citly authorized for the first time. The Integrated Emergency Management System (IEMS) was a response to those criticisms. This monograph concludes that the U.S. cannot expect to achieve a significant level of attack prepared- ness at current budget levels; but that the IEMS multi-hazard emergency management approach may be endorsed by the Congressional committees concerned.

Civil Defense 1945 -1984

 

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