Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency [DCPA]


(Record Group 397)
1947-79 (bulk 1961-79)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 397.1 Administrative History
  • 397.2 Records of the Office of Civil Defense and its Predecessors 1947-72 (bulk 1961-69)
    • 397.2.1 Central administrative records, maintained by the Management Directorate
    • 397.2.2 Records of central staff offices
    • 397.2.3 Records of the Industrial Participation Office
    • 397.2.4 General records of the Plans and Operations Directorate
    • 397.2.5 Records of divisions of the Plans and Operations Directorate
    • 397.2.6 Records of the Research Directorate
    • 397.2.7 Records of the Technical Services Directorate
    • 397.2.8 Other central office records
    • 397.2.9 Records of regional offices
    • 397.2.10 Records of the OCD Staff College, Battle Creek, MI
  • 397.3 Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency 1973-79
  • 397.4 Cartographic Records (General)
  • 397.5 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 397.6 Still Pictures (General) 1947-77

397.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Defense (DOD), by DOD Directive 5105.43, May 5, 1972.

Predecessor Agencies:
  • Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), Office for Emergency Management (OEM), Executive Office of the President (EOP, 1950- 51)
  • FCDA (1951-58)
  • Office of Defense and Civilian Mobilization (ODCM), EOP (1958)
  • Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), EOP (1958-61)
  • Office of Civil Defense (OCD), DOD (1961-64)
  • OCD, Department of the Army, DOD (1964-72)

Functions: Coordinated and directed federal, state, and local civil defense program activities, including fallout shelters; chemical, biological, and radiological warfare defense; emergency communications and warning systems; postattack assistance and damage assessment; preparedness planning; and government continuity.

Abolished: By EO 12148, July 20, 1979, retroactive to July 15, 1979, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, effective April 1, 1979.

Successor Agencies: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, RG 304.
Records of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, RG 311.
Records of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, RG 396.

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397.2 Records of the Office of Civil Defense and its Predecessors

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1947-72 (bulk 1961-69)

History: For histories, and additional records, of OCD predecessor organizations, SEE RG 304. OCD established in Department of Defense (DOD), effective August 1, 1961, by announcement of the Secretary of Defense, July 31, 1961, assuming civil defense functions transferred to Secretary of Defense from Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization of EOP by EO 10952, July 20, 1961. OCD transferred to Department of the Army, effective April 1, 1964, by DOD Directive 5160.50, March 31, 1964. Abolished, and functions vested in DCPA, 1972. See 397.1.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, and the Office of Civil Defense in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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397.2.1 Central administrative records, maintained by the
Management Directorate

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1963-65. Subject file, 1964. Issuances, including advisory bulletins, administrative manuals, and other publications, 1951-68. Records relating to headquarters and field assignments, 1961-65.

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397.2.2 Records of central staff offices

Textual Records: Records of the Office of General Counsel, including a general file, 1958-64; and records from Battle Creek, MI, concerning shelter prototypes, 1959-61. Records relating to annual reports, 1967-68, maintained by the Reports Branch of the Statistics and Reports Division of the Office of the Comptroller. Publication history files of the Distribution Division of the Publication Office, 1950-62. Records of the Technical Liaison Office, 1966-69. Records of the Emergency Public Information Office, 1964-65.

Related Records: Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization posters from the publication history files of the Distribution Division of the Publication Office in 304.8.

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397.2.3 Records of the Industrial Participation Office

Textual Records: Program records ("General Records"), 1950-65. Administrative records ("Office Files"), 1961-66. Subject file, 1954-66. Industrial program records, 1968. Draft chapters of a textbook on civil defense management in industry, 1963. Records of the Government Liaison Division, 1954-63. Civil defense publications, compiled by the Government Liaison and Industrial Liaison Divisions, 1959-64.

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397.2.4 General records of the Plans and Operations Directorate

Textual Records: Disaster program records, 1964-67. Joint U.S.- Canadian civil defense planning records, 1964-65. Planning- related studies, 1947-70. Records concerning the use of military forces in nuclear emergencies, 1961-63. Reports and studies concerning emergency resource management, 1962-63. Records relating to civil defense publications, 1959-64. List of public civil defense shelters in the United States, 1971.

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397.2.5 Records of divisions of the Plans and Operations
Directorate

Textual Records: Records of the Emergency Operations Division, including progress reports, 1962-64; records concerning emergency operations centers, 1962-64; records relating to on-site inspections of survival plan development, ca. 1963; and general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68. Records of the Plans Development Division, including project files, 1965-66; studies of emergencies, 1963-67; other studies and reports, 1964-67; and records of the Shelter and Control Planning Branch, 1961-65. General records of the Doctrine and Systems Division, 1952. Records of the Regional Coordination Division, including a general file, 1963-64; and reports and studies concerning fallout shelters, 1962-63. Records of the Field Services Division, consisting of central files, 1966; and records of the Regional Support Branch, 1961-69. General records of the Training and Education Division, 1966-68.

Maps: For use in emergency warning activities ("Siren and Warning Maps"), from general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68 (139 items). See also 397.4.

Glass Slides, Photographic Prints, and Negatives: Installations, equipment, and civil defense zone and subject maps, from general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68 (194 images). See also 397.6.

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397.2.6 Records of the Research Directorate

Textual Records: Technical reports, 1956-65. Records of the Support Systems Research Division relating to radiological monitoring systems, 1961-65.

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397.2.7 Records of the Technical Services Directorate

Textual Records: Publications concerning fallout shelters, 1960- 67. Reports on communications, 1963-64, compiled by the Systems Branch of the Communications-Electronics Division. Records of subordinate organizations of the Architectural and Engineering Services Division, including specifications for emergency operations centers developed by the Protective Services Branch, 1955-62; and records of the Survey and Analysis Branch relating to shelter surveys, 1958-62.

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397.2.8 Other central office records

Textual Records: Records relating to OCD annual reports, 1959-65. Engineering case studies, 1960-64. Records relating to the National Emergency Alarm Repeater ("NEAR") System, including records relating to tests, 1963-65. Collection of civil defense publications ("External Publications"), 1955-65.

Architectural and Engineering Plans: Civil defense facilities and equipment, from engineering case studies, 1960-64 (212 items). See also 397.4.

Sound Recordings: For use with filmstrips on fallout shelters for civil defense, 1965 (3 items).

Filmstrips: Use of fallout shelters for civil defense, 1965 (FS, 5 items). See also 397.6.

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397.2.9 Records of regional offices

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Region 4 office, Thomasville, GA, relating to the annual review of the State Surplus Property Donation Program, 1967-68 (in Atlanta). Emergency facilities construction and design specification records, with interfiled blueprint drawings, maintained by the Region 6 office, Denver, CO, 1962-67 (in Denver).

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397.2.10 Records of the OCD Staff College, Battle Creek, MI

Textual Records (in Chicago): Training course materials, 1962-72.

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397.3 Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency
1973-79

Textual Records: Correspondence and memorandums of the Office of the Director, 1973-79. Publications, 1955-76.

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397.4 Cartographic Records (General)

See Maps under 397.2.5.
See Architectural and Engineering Plans under 397.2.8.

397.5 Sound Recordings (General)

See under 397.2.8.

397.6 Still Pictures (General)
1947-77

Photographs: Mission activities of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency and predecessor agencies, 1947-77 (MA, 7,052 images). Civil defense shelters, command centers, emergency equipment, and related activities, 1967-69 (CD, 2,000 images). Subject file relating to hurricane Betsy, which tracked through the Gulf of Mexico and struck Florida and Louisiana in September 1965 (HB, 54 images).

See Glass Slides, Photographic Prints, and Negatives under 397.2.5.
See Filmstrips under 397.2.8.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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