Our Missing Shield: The U.S. Civil Defense Program in Historical Perspective   [open pdf - 32MB]

"This volume traces the development of American Civil Defense (CD), 1916-1980. It focuses on policies, plans, programs, budgets, organization and management, and on the central problems and critical issues in planning for survival in a nuclear attack. The study analyzes CD experience in two World Wars; planning by the Department of Defense and the National Security Resources Board after WW II; the events leading to the enactment of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950; and the experience of successive agencies: the Federal Civil Defense Administration (1950-58); the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (1958-61); the Office of Civil Defense in the Department of Defense (1961-64) and in the Department of the Army (1964-72); the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency again under the Secretary of Defense (1972-79); and the merger with emergency preparedness and natural disaster programs into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (1979). The study concludes that after three decades of effort, the U.S. has only a marginal CD program. Impediments to progress have been: the failure to grasp early, and to act on, implications of the experience of Britain, Germany and Japan under heavy bombing in WW II; delays in discarding outmoded concepts; difficulties in adjusting to the fast pace of weapons technology; excessive secrecy about the threat of nuclear weapons and radioactive fallout; limited Federal power in CD; confusion regarding civil-military relations in this field; ambiguity as to the strategic impact of CD; problems in designing a balanced program and strategy for survival; instability in Federal CD organization; and, of highest significance, Presidential and Congressional indifference and neglect and attendant budgetary constraints."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States Emergency Management Institute: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu/
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