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Context of 'May 5, 1972: Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Becomes Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA)'

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President Richard M. Nixon reorganizes the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), which is responsible for parts of the federal government’s emergency civil defense and continuity of government plans, into a new organization within the Department of Defense called the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA). The DCPA, according to the Department of Defense, “will provide preparedness assistance planning in all areas of civil defense and natural disasters. The goals of the DCPA are to provide an effective national civil defense program and planning guidance to state and local governments in their achievement of total disaster preparedness.” (Virgin Islands Daily News 5/9/1972, pp. 6; B. Wayne Blanchard 2/5/2008)

President Nixon eliminates the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), and transfers its functions to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The GSA will take over the agency’s civil defense, continuity of government, resource management, and other emergency preparedness functions, while HUD will be responsible for disaster preparedness and relief. (Message of the President 1/26/1973; Richard M. Nixon 6/27/1973 pdf file; Wing and Walton 1/1980, pp. 35; B. Wayne Blanchard 2/5/2008, pp. 18) Similar emergency planning responsibilities are held by the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, which was established by Nixon within the Department of Defense in May 1972 (see May 5, 1972).

By administrative order, the Federal Preparedness Agency (FPA) is established within the General Services Administration (GSA) to oversee federal planning for potential national emergencies. The agency will focus on civil defense, continuity of government, and resource management, responsibilities that were transferred to the GSA by President Nixon in 1973 (see July 1, 1973). (Wing and Walton 1/1980, pp. 35)


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