HOUSE REPUBLICAN RESEARCH COMMITTEE NATIONAL DEFENSE TASK FORCE: United States. 1978.  The National Defense Task Force of the House Republican Research Committee, under the Chairmanship of Robin Beard, issued a report on civil defense in 1978.  This report asserted that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had the most comprehensive civil defense network of any nation, in stark contrast to the lack of goals for an effective system in the United States.  The Task Force suggested the following comparisons:

 

---  Soviet annual expenditures over the decade 1968-1978 had averaged the equivalent of $1 billion annually as compared to approximately 10% of that amount by the United States.

 

---  Soviet plans envisioned protecting 95% of the population versus as little as 40% for the United States.

 

---  Soviet efforts would protect their industrial base with new factories being dispersed across the country and separated by more than the lethal radius of a nuclear detonation.  This reduced the credibility of the United States’ doctrine of massive retaliation.  No similar industrial protection was being undertaken in the United States.

 

In the task Force’s view:

 

---  existing United States shelters could shelter less than 50% of the population.

 

---  the public was generally unaware of the location of shelters.

 

---  shelters lacked sufficient supplies of food and water.

 

---  industry in the United States as a whole lacked a contingency plan for nuclear war.

 

The Task Force made specific recommendations for strategic balance by ensuring that an aggressor could not emerge from a nuclear exchange with superiority over the United States, including:

 

---  the potential for survival of the United States in a nuclear war should at least equal the potential for survival of the Soviet Union.

 

---  the citizens of the United States should receive the necessary education to understand nuclear war and nuclear war survival.

 

---  fallout and blast protection should be required in government funded, financed, or insured construction.

 

---  the United States should reestablish an air defense system if the Soviet Union produced and deployed in service additional Backfire bombers.

 

The report also called for protection for critical personnel in target areas to sustain essential industries and government functions as long as needed in the case of implementation of population dispersal measures.

 

“The Civil Defense Question,” Journal of Civil Defense, Volume XI, Number 6, December 1978, pp. 24-25.

 

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