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EMERGCON (Emergency condition) is a state of readiness that is separate from DEFCON, or defense readiness condition used by the United States, in that it incorporates civilian measures in addition to the DEFCON military measures.[citation needed]


Generally, EMERGCONs are a state of readiness following an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) attack. Other forces go to DEFCON 1 during EMERGCONs. There are two types of EMERGCONs:

  • Defense Emergency: A major hostile attack on United States and/or allied forces overseas, and/or an overt action made against the United States. This must be confirmed by a unified commander or higher authority.

Although the United States military has gone into defense readiness various times (such as the Cuban Missile Crisis), it has never had a major EMERGCON.

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