Office of Civil Defense

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Office of Civil Defense Drinking Water Container

The Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in May 1941.[1] It was responsible for planning community health programs and medical care of civilians in the event of a military attack on the United States. It was an independent agency and not associated with the United States Department of War. It coordinated with the Chemical Corps of the Department of the Army regarding protective measures against chemical weapons. United States Public Health Service officers were assigned as medical consultants with OCD local district offices.[2] Later in 1941, right-wing Senators added an amendment to forbid OCD from supporting physical fitness instruction “By dancers, fan dancing, street shows, theatrical performances, or other public entertainment.”[3]

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) was an agency of the United States Department of Defense from 1961–64. It replaced the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. The organization was renamed the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency on May 5, 1972, and was abolished on July 20, 1979, pursuant to Executive Order 12148.[4] Its duties were given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Directors of the Office of Civil Defense
  • Steuart Pittman, September 15, 1961 – April 7, 1964
  • William Durkee, April 7, 1964 – January 1, 1967
  • Joseph Romm, January 1, 1967 – January 20, 1969 (Acting: January 1, 1967 – May 20, 1968)
  • John Davis, May 20, 1969 – January 20, 1977
  • Bardyl Tirana, April 13, 1977 – July 20, 1979


  1. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Executive Order 8757 Establishing the Office of Civilian Defense.," May 20, 1941". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ Charles Wiltse, _Medical Department, United States Army, Organization and Administration in World War II_, (Washington: Office of the Surgeon General, 1963): 44. url:
  3. ^ Horowitz, David A. (2013-12-02). America's Political Class Under Fire: The Twentieth Century's Great Culture War. Routledge. ISBN 9781135398286.
  4. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Jimmy Carter: "Executive Order 12148—Federal Emergency Management," July 20, 1979". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.

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