CIVIL DEFENSE: THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION: United States. 1977-1980.  The start of the Carter Administration was marked by Department of Defense, National Security Council (including not only Department of Defense but also Central Intelligence Agency and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency involvement), and House Committee on Armed Services’ studies of civil defense programs.  As a result of the work by the Department of Defense, the National Security Council (see PRM-32) and an interagency working group chaired by Samuel Huntington, Presidential Directive 41 (PD-41) was issued on September 29, 1978.   PD-41 established that civil defense was a component of the United State’s strategic posture, and that civil defense programs should: (1) increase stability and strengthen deterrence, (2) reduce the capability of the Soviet Union to coerce United States policy in a crisis by holding the population at risk, (3) improve survivability for both the population and the political leadership in a nuclear war, (4) plan for crisis relocation of the population, and (5) be capable of responding to peacetime disasters.  PD-41 had no programmatic component – it did not establish a specific program for action, set a timeline, or suggest a budget.  Representatives Ike Skelton and Donald Mitchell led an effort that incorporated the essential elements of PD-41 as Title V “Improved Civil Defense Program” in the Civil Defense Act.


Bardyl R. Tirana was appointed the Director of the Defense Civil Preparedness Administration during the Carter administration.


The FY79 budget continued a relatively austere level of funding; for example, no funding was included in the budget for assistance in construction of state and local emergency operations centers.  Secretary of Defense Harold Brown recommended the start of a seven year enhanced civil defense program for FY80, but the actual budget request for that year provided for no growth, and the amount approved was the lowest of any civil defense budget to date in constant-year dollars.  The FY 1981 budget request provided for a modest increase targeted to increase capabilities in 60 counterforce areas in 36 states.  These communities, located near strategic missile, bomber, and ballistic missile submarine bases, were intended to serve as demonstration projects with increased planning support, improvements to warning points, and other related assistance.


However, the most significant accomplishment of the Carter Administration may have been reflected in Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and Executive Orders 12127 and 12148 of 1979 – the establishment of the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the consolidation of emergency programs in a variety of agencies into one (see Civil Defense and Emergency Management Organizational History).  Defense Civil Preparedness Agency civil defense personnel were scattered throughout the new agency, but its budget continued to have a distinct civil defense section, and the civil defense program continued to be authorized by the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services.


Blanchard, B. Wayne, American Civil Defense 1945-1984: The Evolution of Programs and Policies, Washington, DC, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1986.  Dowling, John, “FEMA: Programs, problems, and accomplishments,” in John Dowling and Evans M. Harrell, editors, Civil Defense: A Choice of Disasters, New York, NY, American Institute of Physics, 1987, pp. 33-45.  Strope, Jerry, “Capital Commentary,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XI, Number 6, December 1978, pp. 5, 27. “Emergency Operating Centers – No Money for FY 1979,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XI, Number 3, June 1978, p. 16.


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