September 1, 2003
During the Cold War, a comprehensive program of civil defense was designed to address Americans' survival concerns in relation to the threat of a massive Soviet nuclear attack. Today we need a new concept--"civil security"--that recalls the nation's experience with civil defense and updates it, addressing and enhancing the ability of Americans to recognize danger, limit damage, and recover from terrorist attacks. In so doing, we should learn from the nation's experiences, both positive and negative, with Cold War civil defense, as well as the many related aspects of coping with natural disasters and public health emergencies. Author Amanda Dory proposes a framework that links four key components needed to increase Americans' resilience before and during a terrorist attack--risk education, preparedness, warning, and protective actions. She devotes a chapter to each of these components and concludes with policy recommendations that bring more coherence to disparate post-September 11 activities and initiatives as well as increased attention to the important role the American public can and should play in homeland security.
Amanda J. Dory is the 2002-2003 Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow with the CSIS International Security Program. Her permanent affiliation is with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.