On the Postattack Viability of American Institutions.

by William Morle Brown

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This paper attempts to (1) delineate a set of crucial problems which could develop if a nuclear war collapsed the federal government as an authoritative presence; and (2) discuss some that might be insurmountable even if the federal government survived. The first set represents the threat to viability from the dependence on the suddenly missing presence of the federal government; the second because the government would not be skilled at its vital postattack functions. The author concludes that: (1) The problems of the early survival period and the reorganization period may be intangible ones rather than ones involving shortages of material sources. (2) If the federal authority disappeared after a nuclear attack, reconstituting it could be very difficult. (3) An alternative approach to postattack federal functions is needed to provide a desirable orientation for postattack planning. (4) Some countermeasures are possible that might be implemented in a future crisis if planned for in peacetime. 29 pp. Ref.

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