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"The Same Agency, Different Name" Assignment: What Are The Similarities In The Federal Civil Defense Administration And Office Of Homeland Security, And Why Was It Useless To Create The New Agency?

2062 words - 8 pages

When facing a threat of mass destruction the United States often responds by creating a new department or office. This is the case whether an office or department is actually needed. Doing so calms the people into thinking the government is on top of things and recognizes the new threat. Paul Boyer's book By the Bombs Early Light: American Thoughts and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age discusses the creation of the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) and its duties as an office. The duty of this office, finding ways to protect the American people, can be directly compared to the creation and duties of the newly created Department of Homeland Security. President Bush explicitly spells out this new department's role through speeches and various white house documents. Both Paul Boyer's book and President Bush's speeches both present ideas of how to prepare for an attack. Preparation includes making emergency kits, having evacuation plans, being informed, and practicing individual safety procedures. In the wake of new national security threats the Federal Civil Defense Administration and the Department of Homeland Security were both created in an attempt to provide a way to prepare and to create a sense of security for the American people. Although the threat of terrorism is nothing new, the government, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, felt the need to implement an entirely new department even though an existing office could have been modified to do the same job.In 1950, the United States government, in response to the world's growing fear for atomic warfare, created the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) to provide a sense of security for the American people. The FCDA was set up to hold conferences, to commission studies, draw up elaborate plans, and in general infuse civil defense with an aura of official bustle (Boyer 322). These ideas and duties artificially insured the people's safety, and lead people to believe that if they followed a few easy steps they would be just fine. The FCDA's biggest pitch was to be prepared. The government provided information on first aid, fire prevention, and radiation (Boyer 322). The government decided if they provided enough information, then the country would be prepared for an attack, and that nothing else could be done. The government created an organization that falsely prepared and desensitized the American people in regards to an atomic attack. The FCDA did a great deal of useless sweet-talking to the American people, but it did, however, provide a sense of security.The FCDA was useful, therefore, in one aspect because the information it conveyed gave the American people a sense of security. The first thing the FCDA set out to do was find a way to get messages and information to the American people. The first program included developing a book to distribute. The booklet was called "Survival Under Atomic Attack." The booklet contained information about radiation and...

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