The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Plan for Revitalizing U.S. Civil Defense

A Review of Three Major Plan Components Gao ID: NSIAD-84-11 April 16, 1984

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status, costs, and effectiveness of three major components of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) 7-year plan for revitalizing the National Civil Defense Program (NCDP). GAO evaluated the Nuclear Attack Civil Preparedness (NACP), Radiological Defense (RADEF), and Direction and Control components of NCDP, which together compose 74 percent of the estimated cost of NCDP.

NACP is concerned with relocating the population and providing fallout protection after an attack. The 7-year plan requires the development of crisis relocation plans (CRP). GAO found that FEMA has emphasized the development of CRP for areas located near strategic military bases, rather than for urban high risk areas. In addition, several critical NACP segments are inactive and unfunded, and industrial protection programs are not included in the 7-year plan. RADEF is designed to provide information, equipment, and technical advice to protect the population from radiation following a nuclear attack. While FEMA has made progress in the development of radiological instruments, problems remain regarding: (1) the number of instruments necessary; (2) instrument inventories and distribution plans; and (3) radiological defense officer staffing and training. The Direction and Control component of NCDP is concerned with providing information to the public before, during, and after an attack, allocating community resources, and directing evacuation and recovery activities. GAO found that many emergency operating centers (EOC) do not meet FEMA standards and have deficiencies that might render them inoperative during an attack. In addition, under the Broadcast Station Protection Program (BSPP): (1) FEMA program analysis and cost estimates are questionable; and (2) many fully protected stations have facility, operational, and equipment deficiencies that could prevent them from operating effectively after an attack.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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