On Reorganizing After Nuclear Attack

by William Morle Brown

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An analysis of current thinking on the possibility of a U.S. recovery from a nuclear attack that destroys or severely damages all major cities and hundreds of others. The economic viability of the country is not assured even though a major fraction of the physical resources survive. Preplanning for a civil defense mobilization will enable it to proceed rapidly and effectively when needed. A large emergency organization could be indispensable to ensure an effective postattack economic reorganization. Effective civil defense mobilization would tend to produce a "paragovernmental" agency of several million trained people to manage reorganization problems. A major problem will be the collapse of federal currency, resulting in misallocation of food supplies and fragmentation of resources. Preventive actions could include an option to nationalize the food industry during the reorganization period. Stockpiles of petroleum, metals, chemicals, and medical supplies could be built up for use as additional currency to ensure that the government would survive and function. Research and analysis of the requirements for planning a mobilization effort may require modest federal funding for a decade.

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