Civil Defense: Are Federal, State, and Local Governments Prepared for Nuclear Attack?   [open pdf - 6MB]

"This report reviews the U.S. civil defense program, discusses the need for a more defined national policy on civil defense, and makes recommendations for improving the program's effectiveness. We made this review because of the increasing congressional interest in the U.S. civil defense posture and in the Federal organizational structure for preparedness. […] The United States lacks a comprehensive civil defense policy. Yet it is vital that we overcome obstacles to meeting and surviving a nuclear attack. Civil defense in the United States has not been a high-priority or high-dollar program. The present situation can be traced in part to the Federal Civil Defense Act, as amended in 1958. This act made Federal, State, and local governments jointly responsible for civil defense. This joint responsibility had a dual effect-all levels of government were involved in civil defense efforts, but these efforts were weakened as a result of State and local government disagreement and disinterest in nationally set goals concerning nuclear preparedness and because of the program's low priority. Federal-state and Federal-local matching funds have not created the impetus for a large-scale civil defense program because the Government can only encourage, not mandate, State and local participation. The question thus becomes: Can a civil defense program, based on voluntary State and local participation, be fully effective? The need for such a program could be justified by its potential life-saving capabilities, if for no other reason."

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United States Emergency Management Institute: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu/
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